It just so happens to be that Ash Wednesday is a week from today.
Yeah, I don’t know how it happened either.
I’m pretty sure I’m still recovering from the winter holidays.
I was thinking about past Lents
what I’d given up,
what I’d taken on,
what my motives were,
what the results were.
During Lent growing up,
my goal was to pick the hardest thing to give up.
I would give up these ridiculous things,
but my motive was all wrong.
Instead of giving up something really hard
and replacing that thing with Christ,
I would replace that thing with compliments from others.
One year I went completely opposite of my typical MO.
This year was the year that we moved to Texas.
It wasn’t exactly my closest time with Christ.
Far from it.
I was just a pot of hot water boiling on the stove,
waiting to spew with anger, essentially.
Shortly after Lent had begun that year,
we went to dinner at a neighbors house.
Not long after dinner had commenced,
their oldest child asked me,
“So what did y’all give up for Lent?”
The manner in which I responded
was far different from how I wanted to respond, thankfully.
I wanted to put a hole through the wall
and answer the question:
I’m pretty sure giving up my home,
my safety net,
and essentially my whole life
is sufficient for this Lent.”
But I didn’t.
I said something along the lines of,
“Oh, we’re just working on adjusting first.”
Thus, the Lent that I was arrogant enough to assume
that moving half way across the country was a sufficient sacrifice
for the one who gave His entire life that I might live.
I’d like to do something different this Lent.
Instead of my Lenten sacrifice being “just enough”
or being “enough to get people’s attention”,
I’d like to go back to the original roots of sacrifice.
This Lent I want to give something up
and I want to take on something.
But not just any somethings.
I want these somethings to do two things.
Lead myself closer to Christ
and lead those around me closer to Christ.
I want this Lent to be about truly preparing my heart
for the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of our Lord.
I don’t want this Lent to be about making my sacrifice as hard as possible
or about see how many heads I can get to turn.
This Easter Sunday,
I want to be closer to Christ than ever before.
But not just for myself.
For each of you too.
What is keeping you from Christ?
What could bring you closer to Him?
What can bring you closer to Heaven?
What could bring others to Heaven?
Pray with these questions.
Ask the Lord what His plans are for you this Lent.
He’s got some amazing plans just for you.