Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thoughts on Lent

We've never celebrated Lent with much intensity around here. I recall in high school possibly trying to "give something up" for Lent, and maybe I did something similar when we were first married. This year, however, I am in the midst of a Lent journey. We aren't doing special readings or following a Lenten calendar, but I have been inspired to fast from something. Also, as a friend insightfully pointed out, you can't put something off and not put something on in it's place. So, I am also trying to "put on", welcoming Him.

It's not that I'm using Lent as a habit making or habit breaking, 40 day crash diet. No, this time around, I see Lent as an opportunity to explore my cravings and my longings. I want to be hungry for Christ and immeasurably grateful on the day that we celebrate his glorious resurrection. In my mind, each time I chose to meditate on Christ and his sufferings, I am inching closer to that happy Sunday morning. I am making a deposit of yearning in the joy tank of my soul. I have another opportunity to die to self and live to Christ, saying "I need YOU." As my yearnings, longings, cravings, hungers increase over a short 40 days time, I am believing that the Holy Spirit will come and transform desires into ache for Him, the crucified one.

You see, I am simple, sinful, addicted. After the long list of synonyms used above, you might be led to believe that I'm really suffering, making myself battle with basic needs in the hope of enlightenment. No, it's much simpler than that. All I'm saying "no" to is sweets, desserts, sugar treats. But however simple and silly that may be, I'm opening the window of my soul to say "yes" to more of Him.

Although it hasn't been a monumental struggle, I have been spent at times. And the needy one cries out to God, saying "More! Please. I need you." Can there possibly be a better place to find yourself? I am enjoying saying "no", believing that the Father says "yes! I will fill you. I will help you. I am."

Eva mulled it over and decided to give up arguing. She has had to plead with her sister to stop inciting her to anger for the sake of her fast. It is a beautiful thing to see her desperate, and ultimately longing for the help of the Holy Spirit. We yearn together and talk together.

Most of the time, I am happy to not be eating sweets. Anyway, my brain is less foggy this way and my energy more even through the day. But each time I say, "I need you", I am looking forward to Easter. Forward to victory, to resurrection, to the day when we shall see Him face to face. Longing is good for me.

Here is my inspiration to fast this year.
Elizabeth writes a compelling tale.
Ann's words simultaneously sting and sweetly heal.

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