Ash Wednesday was yesterday, and for those of us who practice it and look for it, the Lenten advice is flying. What to give up? What to sacrifice? What to add to your life that would be meaningful and God-honoring? Why Lent in the first place? What’s the point? Shouldn’t we be drawing closer to God every day, celebrating Resurrection?
It’s a lot to take in.
After all these years, one simple homily repeats itself in my mind when Lent rolls around. God doesn’t want my chocolate. He doesn’t want the superficial. He doesn’t want a 40 day countdown back to bad habits.
He does want more of me, though. He wants me on my knees, clinging to the cross, honoring His will for my life. In order to know that will, I need to draw closer. Every day, for sure, but there’s something about a 40-day focus. A 40-day walk in the desert, hand in hand. A renewal in effort and commitment. An intensive time of prayer and sacrifice.
If you’re in the “I don’t need no stinkin’ Lent” camp, good for you. Hats off for your daily drawing close, 24/7/365. Kudos to you for having nothing in your life that interrupts or supersedes your most important relationship, use of time, and focus. I stand impressed.
And broken, because that’s not me. This world, my daily to-do, the unending input from all directions, pulls at me. I need to refocus. I need 40 days of giving up of myself and my will to remember His ultimate sacrifice and discern His will for my life. I need to be brought to my knees. I need to draw close. I need renewal.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you do for Lent.
If giving up chocolate draws you close, do that.
If limiting or eliminating your Facebook time sets your priorities straight, do that.
If getting up earlier to read The Word helps you focus your day and reset your habits, do that.
If serving at the local food bank an hour a week reminds you of your abundant blessings, do that.
If dedicating extra time in prayer for friends and family draws you to your knees, do that.
If turning off your iPhone a few hours a day would be a blessing to your family, do that.
If adding change to a donation jar with every foul word or thought makes you more mindful of your words and thoughts, do that.
If attending a weekly Bible study enlightens your understanding of The Word, do that.
If deleting toxic relationships from your online life frees your mind and heart, do that.
Whatever draws you close. Whatever makes you cling to the cross. Whatever has you in knots of glorious Easter anticipation. Yes. Do that.