Clearing some space during the next few weeks.

Maybe the things that go into Lent–the practices giving up food or technology, the practices of prayer more often or solitude or silence, the practices of eating together, those things are clearing space in our hearts so we can listen and attend.

Consider one of these exercises over the next few days:

Simply ask yourself, “What helpful, beneficial action do I know would help my relationship with God and others, but I just forget to do?” Then do that during Lent.

Set aside fifteen minutes. Go to a place where you won’t be interrupted by others. Say out loud, “God, is there something that you’d like me to do or not do for a few weeks that would help me hear you better?” and then just listen to what goes through your heart. (Seriously. I know that your mind will race. You will run through all the things that you hope it isn’t. But if you ask again, you will have a growing awareness of one or two things that are possible. Pick one. Just pick one.)

Or, you can get specific:

Listen to these questions. See what kind of argument starts in your thinking. Ask yourself and God whether that argument tells you something about some growing that needs to happen. And then consider making a change, just for the next 7 weeks.

  • How often do you ask others for advice before you ask God for advice? How could you add in the God conversation first?
  • How often do you turn to food when faced with a difficult conversation? How could you turn to God?
  • How often are you getting riled up as you read something in Facebook or Twitter or the newspaper? How could you back away from the turmoil?
  • How often each week are you specifically thanking God for specific things in your life? How could you add in gratitude?
  • How often do you sit in a chair for fifteen minutes and read something from the Bible and say to God, “Is there anything in this that you would like me to follow up with?”
  • How many weeks do you take a day and use it to stop working and simply live with your family and friends?
  • Who are you bitter at? How could you learn to forgive other people as a way of working up to releasing that bitterness?
  • How often are you giving time or money to God?

Be specific in your next step. For example, “During the next seven weeks, each time I get to Friday evening, I will light a candle and put away my work for 24 hours.”

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