Lent Part 1: Invitation to Journey with Jesus

Journey With Jesus

 Although Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, the day I’m most looking forward to is next Wednesday – the beginning of Lent.  If you’ve never even heard of Lent, you may wonder what I’m talking about (and you’d be in good company).  But if you have heard of Lent, you may wonder how I could possibly look forward to a season that intentionally seeks to strip us of our comfort.

After all, Lent is all about taking time to humble ourselves before God.  Lent is the season when people say things like, “I’m giving up __(fill in the blank)__ for Lent.”  And usually the thing they’re giving up is something they really love – like caffeine, or chocolate, or TV.  It’s never something easy, like giving up cod liver oil or running five miles a day.

This kind of sacrifice does not sit well with our American concept of “living the good life.”  Surely there must be something wrong when we have to do without one of the basic necessities of life like coffee or cable, right?  That’s why Mardi Gras, otherwise known as “fat Tuesday,” has become such a big celebration – because Ash Wednesday is the very next day, marking the beginning of Lent, a season traditionally associated with fasting, prayer, and sacrifice.  People want to get in as much partying as they can on Fat Tuesday before the season of deprivation begins.

But rather than looking at Lent as a dreary church season to rush past in order to get to resurrection Sunday on Easter, I see Lent as an opportunity to get real.  A chance to strip away my false self.  A time to let go of my dependence on the props of this world and learn again that God is truly all I need.

Don’t get me wrong – I love holidays and celebrations.  I am a huge fan of Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas parties and Valentine chocolates, but by the time Lent rolls around each year, I am ready for some time to simply “be still and know that (He) is God.” (Psalm 46:10).  I’m ready to pull back from the much-ness and many-ness of my life and simply be with Christ.  I am ready for deep refreshment – the kind that can only come from sitting at the feet of Jesus, and giving up control.

For me, Lent is the time when I can stop being the over-achieving Martha, and I can be the restful and worshipful Mary. (Luke 10: 38-42)  It’s a time when I heed Jesus’ call to “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).

Lent is the time when I seek to distance myself from distractions and remove any barriers I’ve put up with God.  It’s a time of self-reflection, when I allow myself to become more attached to God and less attached to the things of this world.  It’s a time to reflect on Christ’s deep love for me and the ultimate sacrifice He paid so that I can be close to Him.

Lent is a season when I accept God’s invitation to slow down, to surrender, to rest.  It’s also a season filled with expectation.  I expect God will meet me and transform me. I expect that He will fill me with more of His love as I surrender myself to Him.

Does any of that sound good to you?  Are you ready for God to do a new work in your life?  Are you ready to be refreshed and renewed?  Then I invite you to join me on a Lenten journey with Jesus.

In the coming weeks leading up to Easter, I’ll be posting devotional thoughts to help inspire and encourage you in this journey – and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what God is saying and doing in your life.  Is He calling you to some new rhythms or practices during this season?  Is He calling you to let go of something that may be a distraction in your life?  Let’s surrender to Him and see what new things He wants to do in us and through us.

Now perhaps you can join me in saying – I can hardly wait for Lent!


4 Comments

  1. Thank you for this insight, Linda. I never understood what Lent was all about. All of the people that I have known to recognize Lent have been Catholic, so I, incorrectly, assumed it was a Catholic thing. Your post here explains that it is a God thing and I am all for God things! I will be prayerfully considering what God wishes for me to “give up for Lent”.

  2. Beginning my second round of chemo and I am praying God would show me what He would have me give up during this time.

  3. I am participating in Lent for the first time. I am going to do three things: 1)exercise at least 20 min every day (a true sacrifice) 2)meditate on a daily scripture that will bring truth to my life in the area of obedient eating 3)journal faithfully about what God shows me. My purpose is to search for a purging of wrongful motivations and find a balance of eating for godliness, not worldly beauty.

    This morning I spent some time in preparation (Fat Tuesday). I read 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 and then ended up looking at the whole chapter. (I would encourage you to read it and think about it.) Here’s what I came up with: My current motivation for Lent is so meager. I am looking for self-control for my own purposes — personal godliness. To rid myself of confusion and expose my soft underbelly (literally) so that He can heal the motivations I have towards food. I desire self-control for ME and MY journey. But, oh Lord God, He has shown me a greater vision. It’s not just about my body — it is about the Body of Christ…the church. Building His Church. It’s about disciplining my body and running to win for the corporate godliness — my part for the whole. He has a larger purpose in store, and it is much more than what I put in my mouth. It’s more about WE than me. And although I’m not exactly sure how it all works yet, I’m really excited to see what He has in store.

  4. That’s true, David. But the extent of frncikag is increasing exaopentinlly. And, the lateral drilling technique is relatively new, which has a lot to do with this. I think trying to brush these concerns under the rug is very short-sighted.

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