Why Is Giving Up Busyness for Lent such a Significant Spiritual Challenge?

Added about 11 years ago by Stephen Cherry

The nice thing about giving up chocolate or beer or some other treat in Lent is that it won’t hurt you or dent your ego to do so, and even better, you will be entirely clear what the rules are.

But such Lenten disciplines are very much on the spiritual foothills. To give up something that really matters (and one year I tried giving up grumbling) is to attempt to scale some slippery spiritual uplands.  To go to the territory where we know we can’t do it by willpower alone but where we depend on the grace of God. 

This is the deep meaning of ‘wilderness’. It is place where you get lost and need to be found by God.

This is how we should think of busyness. It’s a wilderness. It’s not something we should take pride in, but something in which we get lost. By saying we ‘give it up’ we mean that our prayer is that God will find us, settle us and reorient us.

Lent is the perfect time to do this for a whole host of reasons. Here are four:

  1. Lent is not a time for trying to do more, but for trying to do less.
  2. Lent is not a time for speeding up, but for slowing down.
  3. Lent is not to meet everyone’s expectations, but to disappoint some – maybe your own.
  4. Lent is a time when we ask not, ‘How much have I done today?’ but, ‘to what extent have I retained a calm engagement with the present moment’.

Give up busyness, let go of that feeling that ‘there really isn’t enough time’.  You will be surprised how much begins to happen.

A guest blog post by Stephen Cherry, author of Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour and Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom for Ministry. For more information and resources for giving up busyness for Lent, visit www.notbusy.co.uk


Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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