For the past few years I have thought about doing something for Lent, but it always sneaks up on me.
That is the convenient excuse. True, but convenient.
A less convenient truth: I'm not very good at giving up things.
This year I was going to be prepared. I read a lot of blog posts last week as people started sharing their Lent commitments. I figured that would be a great way to get ideas. There are people forgoing alcohol or certain foods, getting rid of 40 bags of stuff, taking up service instead of giving up things, not buying new books (or not reading books), doing special devotions, having a gentle lent, fasting from social media, and everything in between.
Lent has officially started, and I'm overwhelmed.
I guess I thought there would be a special revelation, where God's voice would call out to me, "Tracie, you should do ______ for Lent."
But that hasn't happened.
I haven't seen any bushes burning without being consumed lately, either.
(That sounds a little bitter.
I don't mean it that way, honestly, but I do feel discouraged.)
Maybe instead of getting out the matches to help those bushes along, I should get out my Bible and start reading.
It could be that I'm putting too much thought into this Lent thing, making it harder than it needs to be.
I'm not saying that planning something special isn't useful, or there isn't a worthy idea behind giving something up for the next forty days, or spiritual discipline isn't important, or even that it wouldn't be nice to use this as a time to make spring cleaning a reality. Those are all good things. But maybe for me, a first-time Lent-er, just focusing on the basics is a good idea.
Get the prayer and Bible study schedule that I do not always follow as closely as my heart would like back on track.
Read about Lent; digging deeper than a few blog posts. Use this forty days to prepare for next year; to really understand Lent before I try to take it on in some spectacular way.
Stop looking at all the people around me, and what they are doing, and start spending more time looking at Jesus. Because, at its heart, that is what Lent is really about - Jesus.
That is how I'm going to tackle Lent this year. I'll let you know how it goes.
Are you observing Lent this year?