“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led into the wilderness.” That little verse taken from the First Sunday of Lent, sums up my whole experience of Lent 2019 in a nutshell. When I was praying about what Jesus wanted me to do for lent I knew right away what He was asking out of me.
So, I have this bad habit of drowning out the silence with unnecessary noise because I hate being in silence. This lent, I was drawn into the wilderness (that’s within my heart, not the Sahara). Man was it difficult, but oh so rewarding. All throughout lent I would slowly take out unnecessary noise from my day; from no music in the car to work, to not having anything on until after dinner. So most afternoons I had 3 hours of silence!
Something I learned really quickly during this time was how to listen to what Jesus has to say. I’ve had to hear some hard truths, confront some difficult hurts from my past, but above all learn to love myself by letting God our Heavenly Father love me. I entered into the wilderness filled with the Holy Spirit. I allowed the Spirit to led me to where Jesus wanted to go within my heart. It’s been the most difficult yet healing experience I have ever had in my life. You see, we can get so distracted by all the noises in our lives: social media, entertainment, gossip, lies we tell ourselves, and so much more.
Like Lazarus, Jesus calls us out of our tombs and into a new life. What does your tomb look like: rumours, peer-pressure, distraction, self-doubt, past hurt? It seems a bit daunting to let go of the tombs we might have grown comfortable in. But consider what ‘new life’ looks like: adventure, being yourself without fear, reaching your potential, sweet dreams, clear goals, eternal life!!
You’re probably thinking to yourself “WHAT!? No way would I do that, it’s impossible. I don’t even know where to begin! How do you work through wounds in the heart?? Eww, it sounds too emotional for me” Trust me, I was the same way.
So, here’s some practical tips to help you limit the noise, enter into silence a bit easier and search for the peace you need:
- Walk in Silence.
We constantly are on our phones, on social media, listening to music, watching epic-fail videos, reading irrelevant articles and various of other things. Let’s try to go for a 20-30-minute walk with no music, no phone just you and nature. Going for 20 min walks a day not only helps us limit noise but also its good for mental health. It releases chemicals in the brain and allows us to process what is going on in our lives like a purifier.
- Read a Book.
Find a good wholesome book that builds your spirit and leads you closer to Jesus. It doesn’t have to be the Bible (if you do want to read the Bible that’s cooool!! I’d start with the Gospel of John). But, it can be a book about the lives of the Saint’s or just a solid wholesome book.
- A Daily Check-In.
There is a beautiful prayer exercise called the Examen which was written by St. Ignatius. It’s a prayer that takes about 10 minutes out of your day/night to consider the day. There’s an app, ‘Reimagining the Examen’.
Begin in a prayer. Become aware of God in the air around you. Ask Jesus to open yourself up and allow Him to walk with you as you go through your day (or if in the morning to give you strength throughout the day)
What happened today? What were some highlights, what were some struggles?
Where was Jesus present and how did you respond? Where was Jesus throughout the day (good things and struggles)? How did you respond to those moments? What things did you do that were uplifting? What did you do that was hurtful for others? At this point, thank God, ask for forgiveness and direct your thoughts to how you will be better tomorrow.
Pray the day. Ask Jesus what He was teaching you today: where He was asking you to grow, where He was asking to play a role. Finish with a prayer from the heart.
I don’t know how Lent has been for you and I don’t know where you are in your faith, but know, It’s never too late to turn to Jesus. You are never too far away from His love. So, let’s take time to enter into the silence. Take some time right now, centre your thoughts, feel the Holy Spirit and be in the silence. There is no time like the present.