Lent :It is a wonderful way to prepare for the mind-blowing celebration coming up – Easter. Lent is a beautiful time of introspection. A time to look within.
For us Lent 2016 arrived a day earlier. At our nightly time of prayer and communion my older daughter (8) asks “I wasn’t there when the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. I didn’t crucify Jesus. I did not do that sin.” We had just read from Mark 15. Further into the conversation we talked about our sinful nature that corrupts us. How we may not have physically nailed Jesus to the cross but the ease with which we choose to do the wrong thing is the very sinful nature that Jesus came to save us from.
You get where I am going with this. We started with extrospection (examining and observing things outside of ourselves ) and moved to introspection (our very thoughts leaning towards doing the wrong things). A study done in “The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) has found that even very young children (down to three years of age), have the ability to ponder their decisions and understand when they are making a mistake.” (http://thedailyorbit.com/introspection-and-decision-making-start-when-were-young/) So don’t wait to give your child the opportunity to introspect during this season, allow them to prepare for this mind-blowing concept of resurrection from the dead. Give them the opportunity to grapple over our need for Jesus, Give them the pleasure of soaking in Jesus’ love.
Here is how we began our season of introspection. We prayed asking the Holy Spirit to show us areas we displease Him. On a piece of paper we either drew or wrote what was revealed. We gave room for those who want to share and acknowledged that a lot of these areas are where we fail over and over again. We acknowledged our need for Jesus to forgive and help us. We burned those papers and this time we acknowledged victory that Jesus gives us. And burned (literally and symbolically) any way the evil one could use that to keep us from reflecting who God is 🙂
We used those ashes as a reminder that we do face death but with Jesus we don’t face separation from our Creator God.
But here is the key, Introspection by itself will not help. Introspection within the loving embrace of the Creator Father God gives us Hope
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish. Joel 2:13
This is the blessing of being a Christ follower.
In Psalm 139:23 the Psalmist reminds us that Introspection is through the Holy Spirit and not something done in and by ourselves.
Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Introspection is a gift we can share with our children. And there is no better time to start than now.