Preparing For Lent

I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family so lent was always a big deal for us. No meat on Fridays and we always gave up something – ice cream was a popular option for the kids (sacrificial but still leaving the door open for a wide range of other desserts) but Mom and Dad would usually reach for something a little more challenging – all desserts, or wine, or, for one particularly bleak year, coffee.

To be honest, I never really got it. God was cool with a burger on Thursday but not on Friday? And why couldn’t I eat ice cream? How was that helping me love God more?

So when I found a spiritual home in more evangelical traditions, I was happy to be done with lent. I remember being thrilled by a God who loved me based on what He gave up on the cross not on what I gave up for 40 days. Also, no more ashes on my head. I didn’t like that part either.

More recently, I’ve been drifting back to observing lent and trying to lead our church in that direction as well. And I’ve found it deeply rewarding.

While there are years that I do choose some kind of fast, I’m going in a slightly different direction this year. Or, maybe you could say I’m intentionally reconnecting with the entire idea of lent. Lent isn’t primarily about what you give up. It’s about who you are pursuing. It’s about taking a period of time to intentionally pursue your relationship with Jesus. If that pursuit leads you to give some things up for a season, great. Maybe Netflix is killing your prayer life or Instagram is capturing your heart or you’re using food to avoid your emotions or you’re looking to alcohol for help decompressing at the end of the day. If that’s the case, take a step back.

But keep your eyes on the goal – Jesus. The goal is to connect with Him, to be with Him, to learn to trust Him more, to delight in His presence. Whether you call it lent or not, forty days pursuing Jesus would do all of us a lot of good.

Photo by Jamie Ginsberg on Unsplash

One thought on “Preparing For Lent

  1. I am so joy-filled to read your words on what you have concluded. I believe we are being discipled by His Holy Spirit which has been guiding us from both baptisms on John. I love you and Laura and your entire family and all the people who are still in Catholicism too. We are who we are today because of all the things Jesus has afforded to us. I woke up this morning and when I awoke out of my dream, in my dream you were singing a song of Joy to me with all of you heart of Jesus…He knows exactly who you are in Him John. Keep looking up and keep praising Him with all of your Heart. In His Lovingkindness, servantFriendKaren

Share Your Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s