Practicing Kindness: A Lenten Journey

Ash Wednesday convicted me this year, as it does each year, that there are things in my life that separate me from God. Last year, I didn’t “give up” anything for Lent, rather, I added a daily practice of praying in color to my life, in an effort to increase my connection to God and decrease the time I gave to things that got in the way of God in my life. 

This year, drawing from the meditations of 2 Ash Wednesday services I attended, one focused on abstaining from the things that separate us from God and the other on confessing sin to God, I have chosen to embark on a Lenten journey of abstaining from the negativity which I often lavish upon myself with abundance and practice being kind, to me.  

I’m plenty kind to others. But behind closed doors, usually bathroom doors,in front of the mirror, “that pudge better be gone come August 18th,” “I hope my hair grows out long enough to mask my chubby face in my wedding pictures.” 

Sometimes it’s while I’m on the couch reading articles about dementia and how to be a nursing home administrator. “Why are you wasting your time with this program? Not a person on earth would consider you for administrative type skilled work.” 

Speaking such harsh words to God’s beloved children is not the way of Christ. Speaking to myself, a child of God, in such a harsh and judgy manner is not the way of Christ. 

So, this year during the season of Lent, I will practice being kind and abstaining from negativity. 

When the temptation to cry in despair “what if cake and soda isn’t enough thanks for people who come to the wedding?” hits me, I will resist the urge to make a list of all the reasons our reception will be the worst ever and be thankful that the people I love will be together in one place for me to thank them in person for sharing in our joy. 

When the reflection in the mirror prompts me to swear off everything but steam and celery, I will give thanks for my talents in the kitchen and use them to make tasty, healthy and balanced meals that will nourish me in body and spirit. 

When I feel the need to compare myself to others, or to defend why my guest list is so long, or to offer any explanation for anything, really, I will consider “is what I’m feeling conducive to forming Christ in me? Is my self-talk helping me be a better follower of Christ?” 

In this Lenten practice, I will be taking each thought captive and turning them – the good, the bad, and the indifferent- back to God in hopes that this practice of self kindness will yield a deeper kindness to the people around me and a stronger adherence to the way of Christ.

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