Lent. Not to be confused with “lint.”
Over the years, this term has become very real in my heart. Before I delve into that, it is wise to get an understanding of what Lent is from a scholarly standpoint (and by scholarly, I mean Wikipedia):
“During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence.”
So, that’s Lent – to forgo something that we believe has some stronghold on our lives (i.e. caffeine, social media). For a long time I assumed that is where it ended – give something up for the challenge of it, while ignoring the whole “as an act of forgiveness.” Perhaps I have felt that it seemed too ritualistic, knowing it could be done more than just this time of year.
But in coming to understand the meaning behind Lent and why it is this time of year, I find that it is not only the challenge or the 40 days leading up to Easter (the Resurrection of Jesus Christ), but it is a season of time to be spent in response to the life that Jesus gave up for me, for all of humanity.
Gaining a heart-understanding of this, I discover that it is not enough to just “give up” social media for an extended amount of time. My mind, heart and soul have to be in constant communication in order to funnel out the many other distractions that can fill the pockets of boredom. So, for example, in the moments where I can so easily open a browser and begin that dreadful, mind-numbing experience of scrolling through the live updates of friends’ worlds, I have to ask myself what could bring true fulfillment in these little moments.
For me, it will come in the form of taking advantage of the quiet time I do get and to sincerely reflect upon His death and resurrection through silence and prayer. Theophan the Recluse described a time such as this with these words,
“To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all-seeing, within you.”
I don’t think the Lord gets some tickle in His tummy as He waits for this time of year to roll around, but I do know that He takes great delight in every one of us. It is really that delight I am receiving from Him as I take this time with Him. It is the delight of knowing I am forgiven because Jesus took up His cross and “brought us, who were far, near by His blood”.
Overall, I’m excited to see what these next 39 days bring. Much like any relationship, intentionality means new depths are always reached. Especially when it is undivided intentionality.