I don’t know about you, but for me Lent is a time to focus on spiritual disciplines. Sometimes it is a new discipline practiced in a new way; sometimes it is a discipline I have not been practicing for some time; sometimes it is a short-term commitment to a particular discipline. Always it is a season in which I make myself available to grace.
I often practice a form of fasting in that I remove something from my life for the 40 days of Lent. Sometimes I refrain from drinking caffeine, for example. Frequently I take on a new discipline that I have not been doing. One year, for example, I intentionally wrote 40 different thank you notes to 40 different people during Lent.
As Ash Wednesday gets closer, I find myself reflecting on how best to make myself more available to grace this year, how best to allow God to speak to me in a new and different way. I haven’t decided yet what my Lenten disciplines will be. While considering what to do, I came across this reminder from William Arthur Ward:
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ indwelling them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal Truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.