Happier & Healthier| Lent and Our Wilderness

February 23, 2015

One thing that makes me happy is going to church, I love seeing the people that I've grown up knowing, I love singing the hymns and being involved in prayer. Although this may not be your belief, or what the majority of my readers agree with, I wanted to share something I learnt from the service I attended while I was at home.

My Church

As we are now in the time that we call Lent, for many people this involves giving some small pleasure, be it chocolate or coffee or a tv programme or whatever. Many people use Lent as an excuse to change their lives in a small way. And that's what we've been taught to do- after pancake Tuesday, the question on everyone's tongue is what are you giving up for lent?

At church we had a trainee minister lead the sermon, and I feel like I've taken a lot away from her teaching. 

Addressing the question of what Lent symbolises is of great importance to the church, but the reason I am including it in my 'Happier and Healthier' series is because it also makes you think about yourself and your happiness. 

The story of Jesus being tempted in the devil is one that is taught throughout primary schools in Britain, and rightly so it is an important question. But how can we relate that to our own lives? Whether in a religious way or not?

Jesus was tempted in many ways by the devil, and each time, he replied 'no' to the devil. During Lent we are told to give up something that tempts us too, to say 'no' to that chocolate bar or biscuit. An important aspect of the story to remember is that Jesus was in the wilderness, while being tempted. He had no one around him to help, he had no luxuries or familiarities. He was on his own. 

During the sermon, Rev. Smart reflected on how we each have our own wilderness. Being a university student, studying away from home, I find myself in my own wilderness a lot. I often feel homesick, stressed out, and asking myself 'how will I get through this?'. There has been more times than I care to admit that I've phoned home to get guidance on how to divide up my time, or how to approach a certain task. University seems like an ongoing wilderness at times, and the end seems so far away. And yet it isn't. In reality, I know I'm already half way through my degree, and that the next two years will fly by and I'll be in a whole new environment. A whole new wilderness. And I'll have to get used to that new concept of wilderness. 

Your wilderness can seem insignificant to other people. Sure people probably mock me, or laugh when I admit that YES I am homesick, and do sometimes struggle. But this is the big hurdle in my life. Its a huge  stepping stone that I need to muddle through at my own pace and time. 

This time last year I wasn't coping. One year on, and I'm doing a hell of a lot better. I don't phone home every day; I don't cry only a little ; I don't need to go home every other weekend. Although my wilderness still seems like a battle right now, I'm managing to make a path through it. 

The important thing to remember through what ever wilderness it is that you're going through in your own life, is that you're not alone. Rev. Smart reminded us that God was with Jesus every step in the desert, whether that was a symbolic wilderness or the literal wilderness that Mark described. If you too believe in God, as I do, then you know that he is with us too, through our rough patches and hard times. And if you don't then know that there is some one there who is there for you, and look for them - whether it be your family, friends or a friendly face. 

I wanted to share this thought in this series, as it has helped me to be much more content with myself. I have accepted that I will struggle at points in life, but I know that I'll get through it with a little help. And knowing that has made me a lot happier. It gives me a more positive outlook on what I'm experiencing.

Look at your own life, and if you are having a tough time, then try to reach out to those around you and who care for you, and they'll help you cut down branches and build your own path out of it. 

This is a little bit different from the normal style of posts on my blog, but the sermon last Sunday really struck a chord with me and I wanted to share it. And I hope that looking at life like this can help you too. I'm not trying to be all 'preachy' or come across as at all condescending, but this way of thinking has made me happier, so it only makes sense to include this as a way that I've improved my lifestyle. I hope you liked this post, and were able to gain something from it too. 

Thanks for reading as always.

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