We are just a little ways into Lent. I am surprised how quickly my resolve to live differently dissolves into my old and familiar patterns of living. Humph. I thought I was stronger, more capable than that. This is what makes Lent so valuable.
Lent is a time of looking honestly at our lives; a habit we might not practice otherwise. Who wants to search their hearts and notice their inner brokenness or admit these are the realities that still drive them? There are times, however, when there is no need to search. There are times my hidden brokenness unexpectedly invades my life. The “unfinished places of my soul” unpredictably trumps all my well-intentions of keeping life in check.
The “unfinished places of my soul” unpredictably trumps all my well-intentions of keeping life in check.
In those moments there is no denying there is much in me that still needs to die. I am shocked how much self-protection, avoidance, denial, defensiveness, and the like, remain in me but are submerged in the daily trappings of life and ministry.
Although I shouldn’t be. I guess I am surprised how prevalent they really are and how these realities still shape me. My first response is to beat myself up myself for not being more diligent or further along in my spiritual journey than I really am. My tendency toward perfection doesn’t allow for self-empathy; to be kind to myself or to recognize perfection as an ugly, unrelenting, illusion.
Lent is not meant for self-condemnation. Lent is a way of keeping us honest with ourselves (we are really good at self-deception) and before God…that we might reach out for grace. Lent reminds us that our struggles and weakness are the very things that allow us to experience grace (and very much a part of our journey to wholeness). Lent invites is to look more carefully at all the ways the ongoing work of salvation comes to us in the dailyness of our lives. Lent prepares our hearts for Easter. For how do we fully enter into the celebration of the resurrection unless we see a need for resurrection? How do we celebrate a risen Savior if we have become our own saviors?
For how do we fully enter into the celebration of the resurrection unless we see a need for resurrection?
So I have decided to press into the new life that is offered instead of my brokenness. I have decided to let go of the lofty ideas of what my spiritual life should look like, and allow resurrection to define my days. I probably won’t even do these thing well. I am okay with that. Perhaps living with longing, brokenness, and redemption is what makes us most real.