A Mindful Lent
On this Holy Monday, I cannot help but to remember this past Lent with joy. These past few weeks have been some of the most peaceful days I’ve had in a very long time. In short, my goal for Lent was a bit secular in nature, as it was to be more mindful. I hung up verses throughout my house to help remind me everyday of this mindfulness goal.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5.22-23).
Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1.8-9).
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love (2 Peter 1.5-7).
Though Buddhism has led the way for the concept of mindfulness, I believe Christ had the same idea with his commandments about self-control. For if someone is mindful, then they are usually self-controlled.
One of my focuses was on being slow to speak. Proverbs 12:8 says, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” I tried to meditate on this proverb as I spoke in every day life. This is especially true when it came to my patients and their families at the hospital. At times I am with people during immense amounts of suffering, and my truest prayer would be that my words could bring healing.
Another focus I had was with food. I did a lot of “Daniel-like” vegetable and fruit fasting. I spent many days being mindful of my hunger pains, and practiced having self-control when I was surrounded by “royal” foods at parties and gatherings. This helped me to be in an almost constant state of mindfulness and dependence upon the Lord.
Finally, I made a commitment to try my best to be self-controlled when it came to emotions in regards to God’s sovereign plan for my life. With graduation quickly approaching, my flesh is bound to become wound up in anxiety over my next steps, but instead, I was mindful, and made conscious decisions over and over again to give my worries to the Lord and to trust in God.
For the most part, I was surprised at how well I have done over the past (almost) 40 days, and I am determined to turn this kind of living into a habit! Not only have I felt more intimacy with God, but I also feel better enabled to pour into the people in my life.
Most importantly though, through this process, I was reminded of how weak I am. I was daily reminded of how my flesh wanted to prevail, and at times it did. I was reminded that no matter how much I wanted and desired to be perfect and holy, it wasn’t possible through my own strength. I was reminded that God’s power is exalted through my weakness. And finally, I was reminded of how thankful I was for Christ and His death, so that I don’t have to do all of these things to be loved by Him… for I already am.