Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent Commitment

Let's pretend this is a picture of Spring...even though I took it last week!
Religion is not something I talk about a lot here at Sputnik Prose. I want all my readers to feel respected to pursue their own relationship with God; this is not a platform for me to preach my personal beliefs. However, my beliefs do affect the way I live. These words I write are one way I connect with God, so grant me a moment to share a piece of that story with you.

I grew up in a liturgical church, and have observed Lent for as long as I can remember. To me, Lent is an opportunity to redirect my focus off of myself and back onto God. I tend to get caught up in my own internal drama, and Lent is a time to remind me that there’s a world of people outside who are hurting far more than I am. For me, the starting point to helping others is to reconnect with God. I’m not going to accomplish anything until His love is the number one priority in my life.

It’s easy for me to feel far away from God, and Lent is a powerful time to intentionally realize that He is present, no matter whether I feel close to Him or not.

Traditionally, people either give something up, like desserts, or take something on, like studying a book, to mark the period of Lent. The past few years, I've given something up, and while I have learned from that sacrifice, this year I decided to focus on a practice instead: the practice of yoga.

Doesn't that fly in the face of what I said above, however, of Lent not being about me? How, then, can I justify focusing on a practice that is directed toward my own body?

Yoga affords me greater mental clarity. It provides a chance to stop and find the peace that so often eludes us during our daily lives. Yes, it is about strengthening my body, but it’s also incredibly mental, and that mental aspect is what I want to give to God this year, because the peace that comes with a yoga practice enables me to focus my thoughts on God and those around me. Yoga may begin with the physical poses my body moves through, but it extends outwards as I release the focus on myself.

And lately, I feel like I've definitely needed to release the selfishness in my heart. So much of what I do is motivated by my self and my needs. That’s not what I want for my life. I want my actions to be rooted in and result from love.

That’s rather a lofty goal. Yet Lent is a time to set our sights on lofty goals, to allow ourselves to dream of the better people we can be, to dream of a strengthened relationship with God.

That is what Lent means to me: the challenge to combine dreams and action. So I am committing to 10-20 minutes of yoga every day (more if I have the time), and letting you all know about it on Sputnik Prose as a way to keep myself accountable. You all are welcome to ask me during these next 40 days if I’m sticking with that commitment!

Will you be observing Lent this year, and if so, how?

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