Last week I thinking about Lent coming, and pondering how I might honor the season of preparation for Holy Week and Easter. I was raised in a church that observed Lent through special worship services, but not one in which there was any fasting required. A few times I gave up eating chocolate. Which led to the debate over whether red velvet cake had chocolate in it, and whether white chocolate was really chocolate. Because if I didn't HAVE to deprive myself in order to achieve self-denial, by golly, why would I?
These days I am part of a church tradition that de-emphasizes the season of Lent, but I am somehow always aware of my need to slow down and acknowledge it anyway. So I was asking the Lord last week what He would like me to offer him for Lent, and immediately two words popped into my mind: "Your attention!" I laughed to myself about how appropriate that was. If a person could be diagnosed with spiritual ADHD, they could use me as the textbook case. If I were not part of a Bible study and a couple of prayer groups, I don't know if I would ever settle down and study or pray with any attentiveness at all. My mind is constantly running in a dozen directions at a time. My attention it is, I decided.
Thankfully, my sweet friend Joy had just posted an idea about "Praying in Color" that I knew could help me find some focus. Lee and I were wanting to incorporate some ideas as a family, and Bethany gave us the perfect opening when she came home from school on Ash Wednesday saying that the fish they had for lunch was better than she expected. On the way to church we talked about what Ash Wednesday is, and what Lent is. The next night we started a web of everything we could think of pertaining to Lent, and put question marks by the things we wanted to know more about.
The thing I love is that the kids wanted to add some drawing and words of their own. It's so interesting to see which ideas grab their attention! We are exploring the ideas on the evenings we have time at home. Tonight it was the meaning behind the eggs, and what about doubt. We have used the additions to the poster as the basis for our prayer time.
Meanwhile, I am trying my very best to give God my attention. I am listening to music more, and trying to be aware of his presence with me throughout the day. I am taking more time for study, and for digging in a little deeper by taking the time to ask questions and explore the answers. I am also revisiting some thoughts that got put on the back burner some time ago. So far so good. I will keep you posted.
I want to know...what helps you to focus your attention on your highest priorities?