One morning last week, in prayer, I was reflecting on my reconnection with poetry and realized that I needed some way to integrate personal writing into my life. I’ve been so busy lately, with our move and an abundance of editing work, that I have made no time for my own writing—except for these blogs. Having a Saturday-night deadline each week has made me write—and that is good. What I needed, I realized, was an external structure to assist me in forming an internal poetry habit.
Then it came to me: this is my Lenten discipline for 2016. Those of you who have been following me for a while know that my 2014 Lenten discipline was a life-changing fast from processed sugar. The external structure of a Lenten fast enabled me (in the best sense of that word!) to give up something that was, in essence, a primary way I avoided turning to God in my life. Rather than prayerfully spending time with God when I was tired, or hungry, or unhappy, I reached for the chocolate.
This year, I am choosing to take on something rather than give up something. While our cultural understanding of Lent generally focuses on a “fast,” like giving up coffee or chocolate, the goal of a Lenten discipline is to draw us closer to God. This means that we can think broadly, and creatively, when it comes to choosing a Lenten discipline.
So why is writing poetry a good Lenten discipline for me? In part, it is good because I have received from my Creator a facility with words that needs to be shared. Using our God-given gifts is one way that we draw closer to God. Another reason is that I will need to take time each day to slow down, pay attention, and let the Spirit show me something worth writing about. In this way, I will turn my attention toward God an additional time each day.
So this year I will write, in order to enrich my writing life and grow my relationship with God. What will you do, in this Lenten season, to grow your own relationship with God?
Sharing a Lenten discipline with others helps us to make that commitment and stick with it. I invite you to share your own Lenten commitment, here in the comments below, or with someone else you know and trust.