Lent - Check In
How has Lent started for you? We had a bit of an interesting beginning to this special time in the church year. The ice and snow made for one of the stranger Ash Wednesdays I can say I have ever had.
During the season of Lent, Christians will typically give something up (a meal, a type of food, an activity) as a fast in order to focus that time in prayer. Alternatively, instead of giving something up, others choose to add something, an extra devotion, a new act of kindness and charity. Both of these are great ways to open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit so that we may be further shaped into the image of our Savior Jesus. Another thing I have learned is that the beginning of Lent is also a lot like New Year’s Day. It is easy to start very excited, full of energy and commitment. Then life happens. Maybe it is the ice and snow of last week, maybe it is a difficult week at your job, maybe you just got busy and forgot; then boom, you have missed your moment of prayer, forgot your devotion, or ate that piece of chocolate you were not going to eat. It is easy to throw up our hands and say, ‘oh well, I guess I am done for this year’.
I want to encourage you not to do that. Truly, I think that embodies the season of Lent even more. Lent is the time where we really focus on how much we need God. When we forget or fail or whatever happens, that just reinforces our need for God's grace and help. I think of Paul when he shared his struggle with his thorn in 2 Corinthians 12. He says he prayed three times that it would be taken away, yet it was not. Here’s what Paul learned,
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
If you have struggled with what you decided to do during Lent, that’s okay, God is here to help you through it. If you haven’t started something for Lent, if it has seemed like it was too much, I encourage you to try something. We may stumble, we may fall, but that is where God shows up the strongest. Let us be willing to be pushed a little so God’s strength and power can show through us.