Before making SMC our home, Lent was just something in your belly button or to clean out of your dryer (yes, lint, but Southerners say it all the same). But the great Cindy Bailey introduced it to me as a way of giving up something to make more room for God to do something. The adage, less of me more of Him, kind of thing.
For years I gave up things, usually sweets or Diet Coke, and made it all about my suffering (and the suffering of my coworkers and family). Which compared to dying on a cross is about the saddest, whiniest suffering in the history of the world. So this year, I chose to give up sweets, BUT replace it with the sweetness of God. What does that look like? How is that done? Can you buy it at Target?
It will look different for every one of us depending on what God knows we need and how He orchestrates things for us. He knows right now, in my current season, I need more of Him, His healing, His hope, His unwavering and endless love for me and I need to be more aware of that with a grateful heart. I need to wake up each day and intentionally seek out things that bring me joy that I can thank Him for. I need to spend time in His Word, ruminating with a line or two to hear His voice. I need to trust His work in my life.
23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test.26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
The Lord promised to heal the Israelites if they obeyed Him. He showed them they could trust Him by making the bitter water sweet. All because Moses cried out to Him, sought Him out, spent time with Him, praised Him, obeyed Him.
While I’m missing out on caramel and chocolate and cheesecake; I’m being healed by obeying The Lord, crying out to Him, spending time with Him, and praising Him. That’s what Lent is for me; giving up something so I can take in more of Him.