I remember the first time I found out about lent. I had gone to a catholic kindergarten and have catholic friends but I don’t remember talking about lent in those contexts. The first time I remember hear about lent was when I was working at 24 hour fitness. It was a Wednesday and all these people were coming in the gym with black smudges on their forehead. The first person I thought was just dirty but then more and more randomly came in. I knew something was up so I started researching it. Yes that is me, research it (google) before asking someone.
I read about ash Wednesday and how it is the beginning of lent. I read about giving up something. I thought about it and decided it wasn’t for me but that was cool that they were doing it. Over the years, every spring I thought about it more and was curious what the real purpose behind it was. Aside from being something religious that people do, what started it and what are you supposed to learn from it?
Did you know that lent was originally supposed to be giving up luxuries in order to focus on the Lord? Lent is a 40 day period where one devoted themselves to fasting and prayer. It is supposed to be a time to grow closer to the Lord, to understand His suffering as we prepare for Easter. It is a time to repent and renew our relationship with the Lord as we remember His death and resurrection. I’m afraid like a lot of religious things it has become a time of giving up something because that is what you are supposed to do. People give up sugar because you are supposed to give up something and maybe sugar will help you lose weight or be healthier. Don’t get me wrong sugar would definitely remind me of my weaknesses as well.
This year I have decided to participate in lent but in a different way than some would expect. I have prayed and decided that I am not going to just give up something and try to get through the days. Instead I am going to put more focus into my relationship with the Lord. I am going to pray and seek the Lord. I am going to read through the Gospel message and remember why He came for us in the first place. I am going to ask the Lord to reveal my sins and help me truly turn from them. It is not a religious thing. It is a God thing. I want to truly change my heart and remember who He is and what He has done. As Easter approaches I don’t want to just think about the Lord on that day but to live with Him every day.
I am going to reprioritize my day to put more focus on the Lord and less focus on myself and my comforts!
A friend posted this on Facebook and it really helped me remember that this is a time of responding to the Lord and receiving His love.
“Lent has to begin not with reordering our lives but with reordering our understanding of God. Our God is the God who said “Never again.” “Never again will I reject you, destroy you, expose you, humiliate you, even though I know exactly who and what you are. Never again should you portray me in your own image. I don’t let your sin determine my picture of you, so you shouldn’t allow your sin to dominate your picture of me. Never again. Once we’ve met the non-disposable God, the God who refuses to throw us away, we spend Lent reflecting that we’re disposable people, people who are content to cast aside anyone or anything if they stand in the way of our comfort, our convenience, our conscience, our contentment. When we make out confessions we see in our rear-view mirror a trail of wreckage of the things, commitments, and people we’ve disposed of in order to secure our immediate well-being. And so we spend the 40 days of Lent repenting of being such disposable people and striving to resemble the non-disposable God, who in Noah said he would never again dispose of us and in Jesus showed he really meant it, even when we tried to dispose of Him.” –Samuel Wells
So you may not agree with me but that’s ok. If you want to observe lent in the traditional way that is great, but I challenge you to make it more than just giving something up. Make lent about seeking the Lord and to rid your life of worthless things.