March 6, 2018
We are about half-way through Lent at this time. I wonder, how has your Lent been going? Exactly as planned? Have you been able to keep up with what you said you would fast from? Or truly engage with what you said you would feast on? I only ask, with no hint of judgment in my voice because that would make me a hypocrite, because I often feel I fall short at Lent! I always begin with the best of intentions: this Lent I will read scripture every day and journal about it; this Lent I will not eat any sweets – and then give in at some point; or, this Lent I will fast from stress and negative emotions.
Why do we place such great demands on ourselves? Yes, Jesus spent 40 whole days in the desert resisting temptation from the devil himself, but is that what is required of us? Are we trying to prove ourselves to others, ourselves, or God? If this is the case, I think we miss the point of Lent.
This year, I have decided to feast on grace. Grace toward others, of course, but also, maybe more importantly, grace for myself. And do you know what I have found? I feel like I am having my most successful Lent yet! I am finding time almost every day to do something that I enjoy and that feeds me. This includes knitting, coloring, journaling, reading, and doing yoga. Each time I do one of these things I am mindful that I am engaging in a Lenten discipline; I find that my mind is quieted, and I am better able to talk to God and be aware of God’s presence in the world.
I have been reading one of our Lenten books,
by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and I have found that this book helps me grant myself grace. We do not have to be perfect; God already loves us as we are. I like looking for God in all people and I think Lent is a time to find ways to be more open to connecting with God and maybe doing so through the people around us.
So whatever your Lenten discipline may be this year, you don’t have to do it perfectly. Grant yourself some grace. Remember God loves you, and just open your heart to letting God in in ways you may not expect.
Let us pray…
God you are gracious and good. Thank you for sending your Son to us as an example without expecting his level of discipline from us. We are not perfect, but we know and feel your love and are grateful to be your child. You grant us grace, so please help us grant ourselves grace. We seek to find a way to become closer to you during this Lenten season and we are open to however that may look. Amen.