by Cheryl Wray, SCWC Coordinator
Lent--the days leading up to the celebration of Easter--is an important time of reflection and gratitude for Christians. The time reminds us of our humanity and mortality, while also challenging us to live in a way that acknowledges Christ's service and sacrifice. Believers often challenge themselves to give up habits that may separate them from God, while taking up practices that draw them closer.
What can writers do during this time?
I propose that we can practice a more holy Lent by giving up and taking up the following things in relation to our writing:
1) Give up your cell phone for a day. Sure, I know that we need our cell phones to communicate, but how often does Facebook or game apps distract you from your writing? Try giving up your cell phone for a day (or use it only to call or text people) and see the difference it makes.
2) Give up watching television streaming services. The same thing goes for the time we spend watching television shows and other programs. Imagine giving it up for a week; by dedicating an hour of each of these days toward writing instead, you could become much more productive.
3) Take up a time each day for spiritual reading and reflection. Spend some time reading from the great writers of our faith, and see how it affects your own practice of writing. It will encourage you spiritually, while also feeding your own writing habits.
4) Take up an attitude of forgiveness and grace. Do you ever blame the people around you for not getting enough writing done? I can get frustrated that I need to clean the house instead of working on a manuscript; I may lash out at a family member because I'm not meeting deadlines. Look at the people close to you and extend grace and forgiveness.
5) Take up a spiritual discipline. I often practice fasting during Lent, but all of the spiritual disciplines are worth practicing during these days. Look at your spiritual life and consider spending more time in Bible study, prayer, meditation, fasting, spiritual journaling, communion, and service.
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing — grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God." (Joel 2:12-14)