Lent has snuck up on me again. It shouldn’t have, especially with Ash Wednesday in March instead of mid February like last year. But it has. Unlike the predictable nature of the Christmas holiday, Lent and Easter bounce around like a ping-pong ball.
But here I am, on Mardi Gras, trying to figure out what I am going to try to do this Lent. Yesterday I found the Writing to God book I bought a couple of months ago with Lent in mind. I also just received my Fellowship of Prayer devotional. Oh, and someone posted about a 40 bags in 40 days decluttering challenge. Not to mention the weekly challenges we are going be presented with in church each week.
I am someone who has a hard time picking up new habits. As soon as I am knocked off a new schedule, it’s all downhill from there. I could try to take on all of these spiritual practices (maybe give something up too!) for Lent this year. It is very tempting to see this time as an opportunity to change…to improve…to do All The Lenten Things.
But I can already see the outcome. I set aside some morning time for the devotional, a lunchtime break for my journaling, an after dinner quest to declutter. On day two I completely forget the devotional and try to make up for it at lunch. By bedtime on day four I’m already two days behind on everything and lamenting my failed attempts to grow closer to God. From then on it’s all about catching up, the intention and focus lost.
The reward of Lenten practices is not getting to check something off a to do list.
Knowing this and my failure rate, I am still tempted to try All The Things. I want to read the insight I know is going to be found in this year’s Fellowship of Prayer. I want to work on my prayer writing and journaling. I want to declutter. I want to improve my study habits as I work on my Capstone project for seminary. I want…I want…I want.
Maybe my Lenten practice will be learning to offer myself the grace I need to fail, to postpone, to wait.
As for tomorrow I have decided this: I will fast. I will pray. I will ask God to show me what I need from this holy time. And I will try to listen.