We are coming upon my favorite time of year, Lent. It feels like such an odd thing to say. To acknowledge that I look forward to forty days of sitting with the suffering and hardship that my savior went through. But, I do.
I love purposefully stripping away the things that distract me. To put small comforts aside, and remember. This is my listening time of year.
I’m not always the greatest listener. I rush around and act like my agenda is so important, often racing against my own self. If you could get inside my head while I’m in “the zone,” as my family calls it. You’d hear ridiculous things like, “Finish this task, that task, then you can go to the bathroom.” or “If you do those three things, you can have another cup of coffee.”
This competition with time fills my head with a busy conversation, that spirals deeper and deeper into self-centeredness. A child asks for help and I’m wondering why they are interrupting the voice in my head. Can’t you hear that I must put two loads of laundry in the washer before I can stop to put my sweatshirt on?
I realize how crazy I sound. Your inner voice is probably a lot calmer. Your rewards are probably more exciting than sweatshirts and cups of coffee. But, don’t we all have versions of this? All the things we put on ourselves and then elevate to emergency status.
During Lent, I feel permission to quiet the racing voice. She’s still there, and she makes crazy demands sometimes, but I just turn down her volume. It is not her agenda I’m interested in.
I would love to stay in this listening place all year ’round, but I’m human. I get tired of contending with the things of this life. They crowd in, closer and closer. So close that they get a voice in my head, and let’s be real, a place in my heart.
But, Lent is 40 days. 40 out of 365. That sounds doable. Will I fail? Yes. Will I put my own ridiculous agenda before my Lord’s? Yes. Will I get prideful when I do it right? Of course.
But, every year as I commit to do these days with Jesus. He meets me there. Without fail, these are the sweetest of days. They are still full of all the annoying things of life that need to get done, but my perspective shifts. I’m aware of the company I keep.
How about you? Do you celebrate Lent? What does Lent look like for you?