Since I am in the midst of the annual March Slice of Life Challenge, I will double up my Slice today alongside my Spiritual Thursday post, which comes around the first Thursday of each month. Today we are hosted by Doraine @ Yoga Inspired. Thank you for hosting, Dori!
Our topic for reflection and writing is balance. For me, this word is aptly timed. Today is the first day of the Lenten season. While I have attended church most all of my life, I don’t recall really focusing on this season in the Church calendar. This year, however, I took a greater interest in understanding Lent, and found a daily devotional guide that I am reading each day from now until Easter Sunday.
Today is Ash Wednesday, and tonight my husband and I attended our first Ash Wednesday service. We were warmly welcomed by the small group of people gathered together for prayer, song, scripture, reflection, the imposition of ashes, and partaking of the Holy Eucharist.
As a passage from Joel chapter 2 was read aloud, we were encouraged to participate in something called the Lectio Divina. This is a 3-part reflection around one passage of scripture, read aloud three times. During the first reading, we were to listen for a word or a phrase the beckoned, stirred, or “shimmered” us. It was suggested that we quietly repeat the word or phrase to ourselves. During the second reading, we were to attend to the feeling or perhaps an image that we connected to the word or phrase. Finally, during the third reading, we were encouraged to attend to the way the word or phrase connects with the context and situation of our life right now. We could address our response to this in prayer, and then share with the person we came with what we discovered.
I found my phrase immediately. It read: …return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. (Joel 2:12)
As I reflected on this phrase, my mind remembered that I would be writing about balance in my Spiritual Thursday post, and I instantly thought about how important balance in my life is as I approach this Lenten season. I can easily find myself overwhelmed with responsibilities at school as well as those at home, and before I know it, my desire to find quiet time for my devotional reading and purposeful focus on this season of Lent loses its priority, and thus I lose balance.
I know myself and my weaknesses. I can easily teeter off course, but I am hoping that my new focus on this season and on the Lord’s desire for me to return to him with all my heart will help me maintain the healthy balance I desire.