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Into the Heart of Lent: Drawing Closer

Updated: Feb 21

The internet detox has already begun for some, but I feel called to share as I’ve been reflecting on Lent. What’s the point of it all? My perspective of the forty-day journey through the desert has shifted throughout the years. From being a full-time missionary to now working in the world, the Lord continues to draw me close — but in varying ways. I believe God asks us different things in different seasons of our lives. What we need and where we need to grow is always shifting.

What is God asking of you this Lent?

Lent can be confused as

  • a self-help program

  • a workout plan or diet

  • a checklist filled with rules

  • a way to earn God's love

  • white-knuckling through on our own strength to increase our pride

  • a heroic challenge to be comparable to others

But it’s none of these things.

The goal is simply one thing: intimacy.

We often miss this. I grew up a cradle Catholic, and I still miss this.

It's about one question. On Easter Sunday, can we confidently say these words...

"I feel closer to God than when Lent first started."

That is the only measurement of success. It's not about how well you lasted through your fast, or how much weight you may have lost while not eating chocolate.

It's about less, not more. It's about removing the noise and distractions of life to re-center ourselves on what is the most important thing.

I've often found that unless we have the right disposition of heart, choosing the most intense lenten journeys of sacrifice and strife can lead us to arrive to Easter feeling tired and resentful. I've felt this way based on certain fasts I partook in. I woke up Easter morning feeling more bitter towards God and the Lenten experience altogether, just being glad it was over. Sure, I kept my fast, but I missed the whole point. I didn't grow closer to God.

Last year, while praying about what to do for Lent, I heard the Lord ask something pretty strange — a task that was unique from any other year before. The quiet voice urged,

"Collect a seashell every day."

“That’s it?” I asked.

I was at the beach in prayer and at that moment, I saw a little girl skipping along the beach on vacation trying to find seashells in the sand. Her father was following her, delighting in her and the joy she was radiating. This was all God was asking of me. To be child-like and learn to receive His blessings again, without feeling unworthy or the need to prove it. He was simply asking me to let Him delight in me.

I soon learned that this ask had nothing to do with seashells. It was about the time spent with God every day while finding the seashell.

It begged the daily question:

"Is being my Beloved enough?"

Instantly all other noise fades away and peace overcomes me.

Is resting in God's love and being who I am enough, or do I have to earn His love with my sacrifices? Do I believe that the more intense fast I choose, the more He will love and choose me? God was asking me when the last time I skipped down the beach with my only worry being which seashell I liked the most? When did I begin to be so anxious that the Lord would not provide for all of my needs and trials? Recieve, He said. That's all God was asking me to do. "Rest in simply being my Beloved."

It's not about what we do or don't do - it's about His endless mercy and love.

Every time.

May your Lent be restful and may it prepare you for an Easter morning where you feel like you know God more intimately than you do right now. May your heart be changed over the next 40 days.

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