Growing up, we never participated in Lent ... as we were prostitants. However, I went to a Catholic private school for a few years as a kid. So I was familiar with the different traditions, like Ash Wednesday or Lent.
Over the last decade or so, Lent is been more main stream through other churches, other than just Catholic.
My sister has always participated, and within the last 5-7 my mother followed suit. I never felt it necessary. After all ... I tried to live the right kind of life year round ... right?
Well, I've said this before and I'll repeat it here ... when it seems like your faith is exactly where you think it should be. When you think you're at your peak in your walk ... watch out. Because God is so big and His ways are so great - that you can never stop learning. And when you feel you're doing just fine in your walk ... you're probably coasting. And God has so much more for you.
So over the last few years, I've contiplated Lent. Except instead of giving something up ... I added something, like ... yoga or more time with the Bible. In my first few attempts, I thought maybe it would be best to add something better for me to gain a closer walk with God. And although those were good additions to my life, I still wasn't getting 'letting go of something' for the process.
So this year, I was called to let go. And it just so happened that I was going through a really stressful time in my life ... and was questioning a lot in my path on what direction I was to go in.
So, for lent this year ... I gave up DOUBT.
I've been asked a lot how do you do that? Well before I answer this - let me tell you what it has done for me, as it's changed my entire viewpoint of how much doubt blocks our path on a daily basis ... not just in the big ways but especially the small ones.
On the large scale, by letting go of doubt, I've learned to walk more boldly in my life and my faith, stepping forward with no doubt blocking the way. And the result has been spectacular! Without letting doubt block my decision process, I've broken through in faith and taken some opporutinities that I may not have in the past, only to be living with some new and exciting circumstances that are a big blessing to me and my family. If I'd listened to those nagging doubt-filled thoughts, I may have passed it all up.
And, in the smaller, and more surprising ways, I've been able to sleep like a baby. I've been diagnosed with three sleep disorders after years of not being able to shut my mind off and truly experience a full nights sleep. Without those nagging doubtful thoughts running through my mind at night, like 'what if I were to do this' or 'what if this happens?', I'm able to simply drift into a dark soft place in my mind full of slumber and ... peace.
Overall - letting go of doubt have given me more peace in every aspect of my life from the major choices I make all the way to the way I sleep! It's been amazing! No more doubting God's gifts ... no more self-doubt ... no more.
Now I'm not saying there haven't been days during this time of lent that I've not struggled, but with practice it's possible.
So how do you do it?
For me, it was a literal statement to myself by saying, "I will not doubt what God puts in front of me. I will trust that He has my back and will provide the way. And if the way isn't clear, I trust that He had me right in the center of His will. And that's a great place to be ... stress or no stress."
When doubts would start to creep up I would shake them off by reminding myself that I'm not doubting the circumstances, and push through by trusting God to lead the way.
When those little nagging thoughts irritated my almost slumber, I told them that doubt was not allowed to invade my sleep. I gave them up to God and slept.
After a few days of repeating these types of things to myself --- the most amazing thing happened...
The doubt slowly crept away and did not rear its ugly head anymore. I didn't have to deal with it.
It's been so liberating! And in the words of my ten year old, after I told him about my experience with giving up doubt for lent, 'wow, maybe this is something that I need to keep doing forever'.
And, I think I will. I hope it's something that you're inspired to try after reading this post. If you do take the challenge ... do it for 3 weeks. And leave me a comment on how it's changed your daily life.
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