SummaryAmy Pawlusiak knows that when a busy life leaves time for prayer or reflection, the lifeblood of a soul, Lent is our greatest help to growing closer to God.
During my prayer time one morning, I was feeling very tired.
I didn’t have a tired body, but a tired soul. Too many things going on in my life meant there was little to no time for prayer or reflection… the lifeblood of a soul. I reached out to God, and He looked down on me with pity. Lent is coming!
I Need Lent to Help Me Let Go
Wait. I can’t just let go… I have so much to do! But, there it is… Lent gives me the freedom I need to say, “No more media for Lent! No more Facebook, no more running!” It’s a beautiful thing to be able to put up the shield of Lent to protect you from the world.
It’s probably not okay to run from every extra activity forever, but Lent is the means to get away from whatever is draining you, at least for a short while. God gives us the permission we need to say “No thank you. I gave that up for Lent.” I need that freedom, so I can return, repent, and most importantly, reconnect with the God who gave me life.
I Need Lent to Trust God More
I find it illuminating that the gospel for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday talks about how we need to trust God in all things. What we eat, what we wear, what we do each day should be entrusted to God. “Sufficient for a day is its own evil” is what really stuck out for me. Jesus understood our fears more than anyone.
He came from a poor family, and probably dealt with many days of want and plenty. Mary as mother and Joseph as foster father meant plenty of love, for sure, but probably also plenty of “not sure where the meal is coming from today, but God will provide!” I think when Jesus spoke those words about the flowers having beautiful clothes, He was trying to show us that even though we need many things, we often have enough to be just fine.
The gospel ends with the line, “Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” In other words, don’t let today’s work and tomorrow’s worry get mixed up. Focus on what you need to do this day, and that day alone, and God’s will for that moment. And trust that tomorrow God will be there too. Which means we might need to…
I Need Lent to Help Me Reprioritize Myself and the Kids
As I mention in almost all of my articles, our family is busy, and we have a lot going on each day. We start our day doing school, but then, after dinner, we’re running. From basketball and dance practices, to church events on top of homeschooling events, each day has one or two (and sometimes three) things going on.
I know they need these things in their lives to grow. However, it might be helpful to ask… do the kids need a break too? A time to rest and focus on God alone in their lives might be just what we need.
This year, I want them all to ask themselves two things: one, “What am I giving up that is keeping me from God,” and two, “What can I do so I can be closer to God?”
Even if it’s just committing to learning a prayer while giving up chocolate… that’s enough for one little person. Alternatively, maybe it means giving up a sport or lessons or something they are currently involved in for a few weeks so they have the time they need to reflect on God.
I Need Lent to Teach Me Wisdom
I listened to a talk recently where the speaker pointed out that most of the great people in movies and books had mentors that gave them the wisdom to accomplish their tasks. Frodo had Gandalf, Luke Skywalker had Yoda, etc. You get the idea. From where are we getting our wisdom? We may not have a mentor like they had, but we have books, and saints, and sometimes good friends who often impart wisdom without even knowing it.
This lent, I encourage you to find wisdom. Find it by letting God lead your heart and mind to what’s important, and know that it all leads to finding the path that will lead you closer to God, and the future we all hope to have in heaven. There may be a new book or a new speaker that you’re drawn to.
Or a friend you can listen to who is immersed in a spiritual battle and is learning wisdom from it that you need to hear. Just know that God is sending us wisdom each day, using the circumstances of our lives to find it. However, it’s up to us to embrace it.
Lent Is Good for Us
In the end, as for most things of the church, Lent was made for us.
It is not meant to be some horrible time that takes things away from us, and forces us to do or not do things we want to do. Instead, it shows us that we are part of a spiritual battlefield and that we need to learn how to use the weapons of God:
From the Office of Readings for Ash Wednesday:
“Let us pray.
Support us, Lord, as with this Lenten fast
we begin our Christian warfare,
so that in doing battle against the spirit of evil
we may be armed with the weapon of self-denial.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.”
Have a great Lent, and be thankful that we have it!