Lent is BRILLIANT! It is God's "juice cleanse for the soul!" It's a wonderful time to look in the spiritual mirror and see what needs work. It is a time for stripping away all that is unnecessary.
I have found the best questions to ask myself during Lent are these: "What in my life is keeping me from loving and relying on God more?" “What am I turning to instead of God to meet my needs?” “When I am low, what do I reach for?”
Lent is a time for voluntarily placing perimeters around ourselves and testing our wills to see what we control and what controls us.
In everyday life we will often substitute one addiction for another (ie, no wine=more chocolate! or whatever your pet "go to to make you feel better" is. It can even be a good thing, like exercise.)
As you begin this Lenten season, ask God for the grace to help you to leave room for Christ-- to carve out a true hollow spot that only He can fill. It all begins with a desire. God is the Initiator of this desire, and of all things good as we read in His Word. He places this spark for Him in our hearts-- (so we can’t even take credit for that!). As a result, an emptiness is created that longs for His filing, and a soul that pines for Him is birthed.
God cannot resist our act of faith, our act of desiring Him. When we fast, we may think we crave what we gave up for Lent, but ultimately we crave God, for only He can truly satisfy us. He fills us when we commune with Him in prayer.
So PRAY-and often! And maybe add in a little Adoration and praise (Psalms reading) too. Lent is not all about just “giving up something”. It is ultimately about attaching to something... or I should say, Someone. If we can do this, the rest of the things in our life take their proper place of importance.
In spite of our best efforts, I so often hear people say, “I only lasted three days making my Lenten sacrifices!” And then they give up completely, returning to pre-Lent living as if one misstep knocked them out of the “Lenten Challenge” for good. They resolve that making sacrifices is for Super Saints!
Don’t quit! Instead of giving up, why not allow mis-steps to be used to your advantage? Why not simply choose Christ again? (And again! And again! if need be) Christ is most interested in your desire to try to please Him, even more than the actual results of your efforts. It is your heart He wants. He sees your struggles, and I believe it makes Him love you even more. If it were easy, would it truly be a sacrifice? A gift we give to Him for all He has given to us?
When you ”offer up” your all to Him, out of a heart wanting to please Him and grow closer to Him, thanks be to God, resurrection and true transformation (metamorphosis) will happen by His grace.
He must increase; I must decrease. John 3:30
I want to please You, really I do. Can you please help me to see what I substitute for You? I want to have a good Lent, but I so often fail. I have high ideals, but in reality, I am weak. Help me, Lord, see that in my weakness You are made strong, if I rely on YOU and not on myself. Lord I need You, because without Your help, I can’t do it on my own. Jesus, I trust in You (to do this and all things in my life) by Your living through me!
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.