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Lent: A time to slow down, notice and connect

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by Jamie Roach

Pay attention to your heart for from it flows the springs of life.  Proverbs 4:23

Lent is a 40-day journey with Jesus toward the cross and resurrection. It begins on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26) and ends Easter Sunday (April 12).

Historically, Lent has provided space for Christians to pay attention to their inner lives through practices of repentance and fasting.  The season of Lent is an invitation to notice what is going on inside our hearts. Lent is about exchanging those things in our lives that are no longer working and only bring death, for those things that bring us life.  With the fast pace of today’s world, it can be very difficult to notice what is going on inside ourselves and our children.  

Some days it feels like we’re passing one another like cars on a race track without really seeing one another.  Our spouses can begin to feel more like roommates rather than intimate and trustworthy partners. This season of Lent is a gentle invitation to slow down, to notice and to connect. 

One way followers of Jesus have been able to slow down during Lent is by giving up a less productive activity in order to say “yes” to something more meaningful, substantive and life-giving. Perhaps you give up 30 minutes of screen time and replace it with 30 minutes of in-person, face time.  Perhaps you give up scrolling mindlessly through Twitter or Instagram and instead use that time to practice mindfulness.

Or maybe instead of sitting in front of the TV for 30 minutes, you use that time to take a walk with a loved one. This has less to do with the specific activity and more with paying enough attention that you recognize what brings you life and what drains life from you. 

In order for an examination of the heart to be helpful, it must be joined by compassion.  The way of Jesus can be summed up in a word: Love. Noticing or being curious about what is going on inside of ourselves and others without love turns us into judgemental curmudgeons whose words divide and kill.  However, when curiosity is accompanied by compassion, our presence brings healing like a skillful surgeon removing cancer from the body. 

Every parent I talk with longs for a deeper connection with their children. We are hardwired for connection and NOTHING destroys a person like feeling disconnected from others. 

Youthfront created a Lent Guide designed to help your family slow down, notice one another and connect.  We hope it will bring you closer as you walk through this season together.

free lenten guide

To download Youthfront’s free Lent Guide, simply click to become a YF Family subscriber.

YF Family was born out of a desire to come alongside parents. It aims to help them raise children with strong spiritual foundations. As such, we share tips, resources and upcoming events each month that we hope will help families grow stronger, serve God and deepen their faith together.

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