Preparing for Lent


It used to be that it didn’t matter how long I prepared for Lent, it always seems like Ash Wednesday sneaks up on me and I’m scrambling the evening before, trying to commit to a plan of fasting, prayer and alms-giving. Do I give up something? Do I take on something? Do I give up something and take on something? Whatever I decide, will it be enough? Will it be too much and am I setting myself up for failure. I don’t know, up until this year it seems I always made it way more complicated than it needed to be. Deciding what you are going to do for Lent can be actually very simple.

I have discovered that it doesn’t matter what I do for Lent as long as it brings me closer to Jesus. You see I got caught up in the minutia of giving stuff up (which is not even mandatory by the way) instead of embracing the deeper meaning of why I was giving it up. I think it is important to give up stuff, but if the reason you are giving up something isn’t for the love of Jesus, to make room for the love of Jesus, then it is more of a diet or exercise in discipline. Not saying that those are bad reasons, it is just that you can do that anytime. If you give something up for Lent, it needs to be so that you become free to accept God’s love and His plan for you. For example, if a person relies on coffee to get him through the day, perhaps he needs to give up coffee and rely on God instead. For that person, giving up coffee would be hard, but simple doesn’t mean easy, and the most logical choice usually is the hardest to give up.

This year I have chosen the simple but hard path for my Lenten journey. Although I know it will be hard, my thoughts aren’t really about how tough it is going to be, but rather what God has in store for me. I’m not the only one that has a Lenten plan set out for me and I can’t wait until God reveals it.

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