This Wednesday kicks off the Easter season. With Ash Wednesday, the season of Lent begins. Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. And, contrary to popular belief, the purpose of Lent is not to lose weight or deprive yourself of your favorite food or drink to somehow be healthy for 6 weeks. While these endeavors are noble and healthy living is commendable, it is not the purpose of Lent. The purpose of Lent has always been self-examination demonstrated by self-denial in order to prepare for Easter.
As I approach Lent this year, I have to ask myself what is it in my life that could keep me from focusing on Christ and spending time with God as I prepare myself spiritually for Easter. What is the biggest distraction in my life? Well, besides my children which I can’t really give up for 6 weeks :), social media is the biggest distraction in my life. I often lament that I have no time to read or write or mediate or pray, but I find hours in my day to dive into the black holes otherwise known as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. And, once again, none of these are bad in and of themselves, for me they serve as the biggest distractors as I desire this Easter season to prepare myself to contemplate the great weight of the price Christ paid for me on the cross.
I also desire for Lent to be a time where I grow spiritually and serve as a role model to my family as they search for meaning in the Easter season. I pray that instead of spending hours investigating the lives of my “friends”, I would spend the next six weeks investigating the life of the one who laid down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
So, as we approach Ash Wednesday this week, what is it for you that serves as a distraction from growing spiritually during this Lenten season? Would you contemplate giving it up in order to spend more time with the one “who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24)?
“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” Pope Francis