At the time of writing this, we are almost two weeks into the Lenten season of 2023. Some people have already given up what they’ve given up for Lent, others are deep into extra prayers, services, and readings; while others are somewhere in between.
In the weeks leading up to Lent I began to feel a sense of anxiety. What book would I read this year, what app was I going to choose to help me stay on track with additional scripture readings, and what was I going to give up for 40 days of torture. My regular daily schedule had already left me feeling overwhelmed, how much more could I take on in the name of Lent?
I attended a women’s prayer breakfast that focused on preparing for the season of Lent. I started the morning with racing thoughts about how I would ready myself for the holiest season of the liturgical year and ended the day with a sense of peace and surrender.
I was reminded that Lent isn’t about filling my already busy schedule with “holy activities”. Lent is about temporarily, or perhaps permanently removing things from my daily life to make room for being in my own desert time with Jesus. It’s about joining Jesus in remembering through our prayers, fasting, and almsgiving that God is who sustains us. God is who we live for.
This year for Lent I decided to put aside my false idea that I, or anyone else needed to pack our schedules with activities, no matter how holy they may be.
In order to be with Jesus in the desert we might need to do less things.
We might only make it to church for regular weekly Sunday services and Good Friday. It’s alright if we only maintain our regular bible reading and prayer times. So far, slowing down for Lent has allowed me to have more time to engage in reading the book that I’ve chosen and time for reflection. My time isn’t spent trying to attend church concerts, compline services, Easter choir practice, and whatever else I thought needed to be part of the season. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities, they are a beautiful and blessed part of Lent. My point is simply this: it is alright to include rest in our time of Lent.
What are you fasting from during Lent? Do you feel its absence has brought you closer to God?
What have you learned about yourself during Lent?
Is Lent a time of rest for you, or do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the seasonal activities? What can you consider removing or reducing from your schedule to make more time for rest?