When I was a child I never really looked forward to Lent. Unlike Advent, a time of joy and anticipation when candles are lit each week as Christmas Day approaches, Lent would often seem like something to be endured rather than a time of grace and spiritual growth. Childhood memories of giving up candy or sitting through church services with sermons about sacrifice or self-denial come to mind.
As I entered adulthood I would often either breeze through this season without a thought or start out with good intentions only to wind up failing and giving up the journey. This would lead to guilty feelings and my inner spiritual weaknesses glared at me.
Lent is a 40-day period leading up to Easter that begins on Ash Wednesday. It is a time of self-examination, of penance, and an opportunity to deepen your relationship with God. It is also an opportunity to de-clutter your life in both material and spiritual ways.
Lent is a journey if you chose to take it. This journey is not for the faint hearted. It is difficult and you can get easily discouraged as it can be filled with struggles. It can also be very rewarding and full of victories.
Each year I have come to realize that as a believer, I am not alone on this journey. Deuteronomy 31:8 states “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave or forsake you.”
At the end of Lent there is a Resurrection which leaves us with joy, hope and promise.
This year, I do not want to endure Lent. I choose to embrace it and allow it to shape me and change me.
My hope for this season of Lent is that whatever I add will remain a part of my daily life even after Lent ends. And through this season of Lent I hope I can focus on deepening my relationship with Jesus and continue to grow in my walk with Him.