Lent, we meet again.
My experiences from Lent have included a wide array of sentiments and experiences, from using it merely as a way to shed a few pounds before summer to using it as a season to dig into more of who God is and deepen my relationship with Him.
Last week, I read an excerpt on Lent via She Reads Truth that I fell in love with:
Lent should never be morose – an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. Instead, we ought to approach Lent as an opportunity, not a requirement. After all, it is meant to be the church’s springtime, a time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges.
-Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
Lent shouldn’t be approached as a requirement that we dread, but rather, an opportunity; a time to return to God and dig into Him. Lent is not a mandate, it’s an invitation.
I don’t know about you, but I’m in a place in my life right now where I need more of God. I’m not just saying that to sound holy and cliche, but I really NEED Him. Let’s me honest, who doesn’t need more of God? If you find yourself in a similar place, Lent can be a great time to go deeper and experience more of who God is.
Need some suggestions?
A friend shared with me a Lenten study that She Reads Truth doing and so far, it’s been amazing for me. They have short little devotions that coincide with a daily scripture reading. I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s been a great way to turn my eyes away from myself and put them back on Jesus.
Another friend told me she’s trying to spend some time each day praying on her knees. There’s something about praying on your knees in a posture of prayer that can be so powerful. Granted, today, mine was literally for 45 seconds, before I was up and running again, but I’m starting to see that taking the time to get on your knees to pray has helped to focus my heart and strengthen my prayer life.
Then there’s the notion of fasting or sacrificing something. My only caution would be to ask yourself why you’re giving something up–is it for your own self-improvement project, or is it because you see how it’s hindering the way you come to know and encounter God? I’m all for fasting, just make sure it’s for the right reasons!
I’m not trying to add one more thing to your growing to-do list, rather to encourage you to see Lent as an invitation to come closer to God. A chance to return to God, get your heart ready, and simply be with Him.
This way, when Easter Sunday rolls around, it won’t just be about your cute, new sundress (though I DO think those are highly important!), but you can celebrate Christ’s resurrection and the forty days you spent encountering Him in fresh, new ways.
“Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”
– Joel 2:13, ESV