This Lent: What I’m Doing Differently–and Why

“O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again.” — Henri Nouwen

I’ve been reflecting on this quotation lately. The past year has been a blessing in so many ways, but it’s also been painful. Spiritually, I’ve struggled and stumbled. Places in my heart I thought had healed have fractured open, and God is resetting the bones of my soul. There is good growth, it’s necessary work, but growth is always uncomfortable. And humbling.

I’m learning what it means to lean completely on the Lord. If my target is heaven (and it is), then my best shot is to let Him string the bow, trust His strength to draw the string, and wait for Him to loose my arrow in His own time. I’m cherishing this image of a loving Christ enfolding me, His hands around my hands as I slowly relinquish control. 

The world tells us that mastery is when we are capable of operating independently, of hitting the bulls-eye completely on our own. We want to, like my daughter used to say, “do self.” But God’s vision for humanity defies this conventional “wisdom.” In the Christian life, it’s dependence, not independence, that is the mark of a mature disciple.

So this Lent, I’m taking Henri Nouwen’s advice to do things a little differently. Instead of focusing on what I can do for God, I’m going to simply focus on Him. It shouldn’t be hard, since He’s literally everywhere–but humans have a habit of being short-sighted, and I’m no exception. I want to design my own spiritual workout plan for Lent and then show God how strong and fast I can be. Not this year.

This year, I hear Him saying, “Find me. Come, find me.” Like a Father beckoning His little girl. In that vein, my plan for this Lent is a humble string of sacrifice beads, like the one St. Therese used as a child.

Each morning, I’ll ask Jesus to help me find Him. Then each time I do–each time I recognize His voice in my toddler’s whining and rush to greet Him, each time I feel the tug of His servant’s heart to perform some mundane thankless task with joy, when I switch off a screen to better see Him in this moment He has gifted me, I’ll slide a bead and say a prayer.

“Let me find You again.”

Wishing you all a very blessed Lent. May you find Him in new ways and, in doing so, be found.

Sweetness & grace,

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