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We are at the beginning of Lent. Some of us use this time to deny ourselves something, others decide to take on some new practice or activity. Making small changes in our lives can help us to loosen up areas that have become stagnant, give us renewed confidence and provide new perspectives and opportunities. Here are a few things we could try for 40 days in Lent.
A new seat. A new perspective
If you worship in the same seat each Sunday, why not consider moving to a new seat for Lent?
This small move may also change the people around you with whom you interact each Sunday. All of this can help you stay more focused on the worship service as you see things a little differently. As a Methodist church member, parting with some things for a season may help you gain a new perspective and a new confidence. Doing so can help make room for a new movement of the Holy Spirit in the months to come. What small thing might you change?
Less time wasting more time waiting
John Wesley instructed his listeners to “never trifle away time.” Instead, they were to be engaged in the practice of ministry or the development of their spiritual lives. While we need our rest and relaxation, there are diversions we could remove and replace with something more beneficial. Waiting on God does not always have to be static, it can be a new activity or openness to a new opportunity.
Consider finding ways to free up time to volunteer for Lent. Consider making regular calls to old friends and church members you no longer see, or join a class or small group at your church.
Are you up for knocking on some old and new doors to see what happens?
Out with the old, in with the new.
If you have been a Christian for some time, you probably know the Bible fairly well. There are verses you know by heart, and stories that are familiar. Reading from a different version of the Bible can help bring new life to those passages. A translator’s decision to use one word over another may give you some new insight you hadn’t thought of before.
Consider this 40 day trial of a different version as an opportunity to get a new perspective on your old favourites. Just like watching a remake of your favourite film, you can compare and contrast the style and content. Go on ‘Book’em Danno!’
A new devotional
Devotionals are helpful aids to lead us in bible reading and prayer every day, but we can become stuck in a rut with them as well. If you have been using the same book or website for more than a year, you may benefit from trying something different for a while. A new devotional resource can breathe new life into your time with God.
A new book: fresh or familiar
Growth often comes from thinking about things in a variety of perspectives. Reading a variety of authors can challenge us to do just that. We like certain authors because of their style or turn of phrase and we like the familiarity of their plots and characters. When looking for a book to read for spiritual development consider something new. This might be a theological book, something from the best-seller list or a recommendation from a friend.
Join and journey with a new group
Connections to other people of faith are vital, and there will often be a group running for Lent in your church. Take the opportunity to join-in and journey with the subject matter, but more importantly meet and listen to the perspective of other group members.
Although we don’t mean to, there are times when we can fall into patterns of negativity. We can become discouraged by personal let-downs, the theology of others, policies of our denomination, or practices of our congregation. Once we are in a ‘slough of despond’ many things can become sources of stress and food for complaining. Removing negativity from our lives and choosing instead to find things to celebrate can lift our spirits and renew a passion for that which matters most.
In what ways can you practice a generosity of spirit during Lent?
Some of us do things in the church that bring us no joy. We’re not really sure how we got the job in the first place. We don’t really want it. Yet, we are pretty sure that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. But actually, someone else might really like to do that job but has never had the opportunity.
Why not big-up the job and make it known that you would like someone to take it over. Don’t accept the first offer but give it some time to sink in and consider all offers. Think about how you can step into a new way of using your gifts to serve your church or community.
In what new way can you bless your church?
Many of these suggested activities are small but can lead to big developments in the future as you intentionally make room for the Holy Spirit to do a new work in you.
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