Lent seems early this year but I know deep down it is right on time. It is well needed time to focus on all relationships in my life including that with I share with God. I was always taught Lent was about giving up something, depriving ourselves of something we love as a way to honor, connect and align with our higher power. I often struggled with this concept because if love is mutual why am I giving up anything? Compromising is one thing necessary in a relationship but giving up completely never seemed to make sense to me.
Over the years I continued to hear this message of giving up something for Lent. We talk of abstaining from sweets, alcohol, meat and so on. Many of us using Lent as a form of dieting and alignment for healthy eating. Others talk of giving up swearing or not giving negative comments. These too work on improvements we’d like to see in our life. I too have done such things during Lent in my life. Sometimes I was successful the full season and others were like New Year’s Resolutions I would soon forget or wasn’t really that committed on. I don’t think it made God love me any less but I would feel guilty of this from time to time.
I’ve decided though that Lent shouldn’t really be about punishment, depriving myself or even feeling guilty. This is such a beautiful season that is really about love. When we love someone we want to give them our best, we want to do our best and we strive to be all they need from us. We feel beautiful, fulfilled, excited and happy when we are in love. There is a chemical response in our brain that activates when we have these sensations of love pumping throughout our body to generate more of these feel good feelings. I think that is feeling we should try to capture and generate during Lent and for me personally none of that has anything to do with giving up anything. It’s actually the opposite and generating more of something.
When I think about how to do this as compared to how I was taught with Lent being a season of foregoing something I struggle. Does this mean I can’t have chocolate because I love chocolate but giving up chocolate would make God happy with me? Does God really want me to sacrifice something and feel hardship in a life that is already a lot of the times challenging, filled with struggles and frustrations? Does He really want me to add another challenge on top of the problems I struggle with resolving every day to support and care for my family? These are not the things I envision when I think about God or the relationship I want to have with Him.
So I thought about what I feel like when I am in love. Like when I feel in love with my husband and heard him say for the first time he loved me (at a Grateful Dead concert up in North Carolina on a warm summer night). That feeling of completeness, worthiness, contentment, and grace I felt. The heightened awareness I had for what he needed and what we wanted to do for each other. That connection and bond that formed because we are aligned and in tune to each other’s needs, thoughts, wishes and dreams. The friendship and relationship we have that works to care for our son and each other. That is the relationship I want and need with God. That caring, supportive, encouraging, loving source that knows all about me and what I need and want even before I do. It isn’t filled with pain, sacrifice or challenges but rather is a partnership to help overcome those things.
I believe it is entirely healthy to give up bad habits, seek self improvement and work to be the best person we can be in life. For me however, that is something we should be doing year round and doesn’t need to be tied to a season where we are renewing our relationship with God. I believe Lent is a season of focusing on the feelings we feel at Christmas where we give, connect, share and love with one another and with God. It is a season of feeling love so intensely and deeply that we can walk into our days filled with grace and strength to face challenges more easily knowing someone has our back. It is a season of strength, reliability, connection, grace and love.
Instead of giving up something this year I am encouraging everyone to look at what we can generate. What can we do to foster those feelings of deeper connection, relationship, community and love in our families, neighborhoods and communities? Where can we draw on the examples of God to live more in alignment with our true callings? I believe doing aligns us to living more naturally and simply in alignment with what feeds our soul and builds love. It is not about taking away but rather of building, renewing and strengthening our ties to one another and to God. It is about realizing there is something bigger in life and working to feel that every day in all that we do. If giving up something helps you feel that then do it but for me I think it’s something bigger, deeper and more purpose filled that we can use the time for in this season.
For Lent I am working to include time for reflection, meditation and openness to receive love. I am renewing my most precious relationships to strengthen them and give of myself for those causes. I believe it is time to forgive ourselves for feeling guilty about all that we are not good at, fail at, struggle with and can’t win at. It is time to let go of what doesn’t service us so we can now be open to what the world and God has in store for us. It won’t mean the bills get paid any easier or daily demands will lessen in challenges but it does offer us grace to feel, experience and move through these things in love.
If you’re ready to use Lent as a season of renewal, rebuilding, re-connection and re-alignment to what your soul is calling for then I invite you consider starting your natural health journey for support. Including alignment with nature helps us build on things that feel good to us and support a healthy lifestyle. I will be using these oils to help me in this season focus on my relationships and the love in my life:
doTERRA Forgive – applied to wrists and arm creases for releasing guilt and that which doesn’t serve me anymore
doTERRA Serenity – diffused in my bedroom & office for relaxation and calming so I can focus and be creative
doTERRA Passion – applied to back of neck and heart for enhancing love feelings and awareness of those relationships
To get what I am using this season, simply click here: dragonspitapothecary.com/lent-oils