Lent has been, weird. That is the only way to describe how it feels. I’ve been listening to this series called “Your Best Lent Ever” by Matthew Kelly, and it is inspiring me to run after God during Lent. I feel as if part of me has run after God, in giving up things that may be idols, thinking more about other idols, working on praying for the world, disciplining myself to read Genesis with Jess, and being still with God. In this running-after-God, how can I turn my back to the cross? Lately, when I think of Easter, I’ve get so excited for the fact that I will be able to indulge in what I have given up. Because of this, I realize that my mind is not where it should be. Therefore, I am in no where near ready for Lent to be over. This time of discipline is teaching me so much about myself and my idols and what makes me tick and what makes me crazy. It is giving me a clue of where my mind and heart lie, and in all the ways I do not choose God.
So far in these 2.5 weeks of Lent, I have felt stripped, raw, bare. I’ve been in full-realization of my sin through words from friends and the Holy Spirit. I did something last week that I really shouldn’t have done, and I had a conflict with a friend that scared me. I’ve been easily hurt by things people have said to me. Not things I would consider as Best Lent Ever, but what does Best Lent Ever actually mean? It means growing with God. To grow with Him, it means to be transformed by Him, sanctified by Him. Which means allow Him to do His work. Which makes me feel stripped. Makes me aware of all the ways my earthly mind does not think Christ is enough. My heart says Christ is enough, but my mind says Christ is not enough, but that being good at school and being a strong runner and feeling pretty and being a good friend, roommate and Christian are all needed to be enough.
I realize that I like to hear that I am doing good. A girl in my small group talked about how she always texts her one friend for validation and justification of her feelings, to make her feel better. Why are we like that? We feel better by someone else telling us we are okay. What about what God tells us? Why do I not believe Him that I am enough in Him and that He is more than enough for me? I may believe it for a little while, after a devotional or small group or church, but I so quickly turn my back to the cross and wander back to the world. I can (of course) related this to PT school, where I love feedback, because that is what makes my manual skills better. I need a professor or classmate to say “You should widen your stance, or straighten your arm”. So when my friends give my “feedback” in their own way, it initially hurts my feelings. It makes me defensive and makes me feel like a bad person. But when I take a second and think about it, my friends are often right, and I need them to look at my thoughts and choices and tell me the truth in a loving way. Maybe it’s good for me to think about what is at the root of it. Why do I prefer to avoid conflict so much I want to not talk about such things? (I prefer comfort to discomfort) Why am I so focused on school and running? (Identity in grades and running) Why do I not like realizing my sinful areas? (Identity in making good choices) Why do I get so sad if someone is mad at me or I accidently hurt someone/let them down? (Identity in others approval). We talked about this at church this weekend and the importance of community for spiritual maturity. Community is not about us, it is about spiritual maturity. What if I believed this and lived it out? What if I believed 2 Corinthians 7:10-13:
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldy sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. See even though I wrote to you. It was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on the account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By this we are all encouraged.”
Godly sorrow brings repentance—turning to the cross, just like in the song: The cross before me, the world behind me. I may need to remind myself of this every hour everyday: turn to the cross, eyes-on-Jesus, He is enough.
Lent had pushed and pulled me to this place. It hurts and it is chaotic, but there is also an overwhelming feeling of grace and peace. That’s Jesus. And He seems to meet me right here, in the midst of this “Best Lent Ever”.