Wednesday, April 4, 2012


As Lent concludes, and with it my Lenten observance, I pause to reflect. Before moving out of this season, I want to consider how I moved through it. And to do so honestly. That's the difficult part. I feel like I should start with a disclaimer, a excuse. However, I'm not. Instead, I am going to extend some grace to myself and accept what this Lent was rather than what it (or I) was not.

This year I intended to observe Lent by mindfully, soulfully, and faithfully praying, worshipping, and writing. As I reflect, I acknowledge that I only met with success in the practice of writing...and even in this I regularly had to remind myself of the original call, remain aware of my motivations, and resist the urge to write out of duty rather than desire.

A blog I recently read posed the question, "Have you fallen prey to Lenten angst? Where have you been relying on muscling yourself into change, and where have you relied on the Spirit?" The writer defines Lenten angst as "Seeking to overcome the flesh through fleshly effort; unwitting (and ill-fated) attempts to will oneself to a higher spiritual plane."

I admit that the past 40 days were sprinkled with a fair amount of Lenten angst. The villian named Forgetfulness also snuck onto the scene to distract me from it was all truly about. And in the end, I am left rethinking the decision to take up rather than lay down during the season of Lent. These are all thoughts I will ponder between now and next year.

I appreciate this explanation from writer Valerie Hess. She reminds me: "The forty day journey to Easter that Christ-followers make each year is called Lent, from the Old English word that means “lengthen.” The days are lengthening and our souls are invited to lengthen also. By that, I mean we are invited to journey from where we are to a more complete version of who God created us to be. We do that through the disciplines of Lent."

Pastor Keith Meyer echoes, "The desired result is not just a seasonal increase of activity that wanes after Lent, but for deeper character for every day of the year."

So, as Lent concludes, I ponder, "Am I a more complete version of who God created me to be?" I give thanks for all that I learned through this season. And I pray that the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth have been pleasing to God.

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