To say I’m excited about this upcoming Lenten season is a understatement.
Thrilled to bits? Indescribably giddy? Hopelessly enthusiastic? Absolutely.
But merely excited? Meh. Not so much.
I get it. I do. How weird is it that someone is excited for Lent?
I mean… it’s Lent. Isn’t that kind of the equivalent of getting excited to watch paint dry?
Some of my non-Lenten observing friends think I’m absolutely crazy for loving Lent. They see the observance of Lent as something archaic and legalistic. They wonder why I’m trying to “earn” God’s grace… why I’m striving so hard to be worthy of His love. (I think they think that I think that I can rack up “God points” by fasting and abstaining from meat… which is absurd.) They can’t understand how fasting, abstaining and practicing self-denial brings me closer to God.
Even some of my Catholic and/or Lenten-observing friends think I’m crazy for loving Lent. They’re dreading Lent. It’s another hoop they have to jump through – another exercise in futility. They have to suffer through 40 days of not being able to do what they want just to stay in the Church’s good graces. If they weren’t plagued with such Catholic guilt, they probably wouldn’t do it at all.
But both sides are missing the point entirely. For me, Lent is an opportunity to deepen my relationship with Christ, to grow in my faith, to get to know and love Him better. And I realize that to a lot of people, that sounds like a drag. But when you’re in a close relationship with Jesus Christ… it is literally the most exciting, thrilling, fruitful thing you can ever do. And to be able to improve on it? So that it’s even more exciting, more thrilling and more fruitful? How awesome is that?! Just when you don’t think it could get any better… He just keeps giving you more and more and more.
That’s the amazing thing about God. His love, mercy, grace, joy, peace and blessings… they never run out. His supply can never be exhausted. You can go back for seconds, thirds, fifteenths and twenty-seven thousandths… and STILL… you can always have more. He will never stop lavishing his love, mercy, grace, joy, peace and blessings upon you – EVER. All you have to do is ask! And what’s really mind-boggling… is that He never tires of you asking. That’s particularly remarkable in a world where nothing lasts, everything is finite, and “all good things must come to an end.” But not with God – God never fails to deliver.
I think that’s why I’m so excited about Lent. As much as I’ve pressed in, and dug deeper, and run with arms wide open towards Him these past couple of years – I can’t get enough. All my deepest longings and desires are found in Him. He’s always showing me something new – and He does it all with such love and gentleness and even humor, that I just don’t want anything else. It’s all Him, all the time. I can’t ever get enough. So to be able to take just 40 days to sweep away the cobwebs, to wipe away the dust, to quiet the noise, to turn down the static, to put away the things that pull and poke and prod at me,and to turn away from the things that obstruct my view of Him? I’ll take it. All of it.
And if, in order to do that, I have to give up the distractions, and buckle down so that I can genuinely seek Him? To seek Him with “all my heart and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength“? Then sign me up. If that’s all it takes, then I’m all in.
How about you? Are you all in?