Lent- Are You Willing to Fight and Trust?
I have come to love Lent. I like a challenge but I need accountability and structure. So the Church in her wisdom gave us this beautiful opportunity to take a look at our souls and sweep away the weaknesses, sins, and habits that enslave us. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Interestingly, the word I received this year from Jennifer Fulwiler’s generator was strength. I have found that my strength is directly related to my trust in Jesus. Lent should be a time where we are growing closer to God. Sin weakens our bond with God and turns us away from Him, so it makes sense to focus on what vices and bad habits need to be crushed and what corresponding virtues need to be nurtured. It should also be a time where we look beyond ourselves and share God’s love with others. Perhaps, we can spend some quiet time with the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we should concentrate on during Lent this year.
Fr. Mike Schmitz made an awesome little podcast about Lent. He relates the 40 Days of Lent to the time the Israelites were wandering in the desert for 40 years. Fr. Mike states: “God had just set them free from slavery from the largest Kingdom at the time. They were slaves in Egypt and God parted the Red Sea, and when they got to the Promised Land they sent scouts ahead of them. When they got there, the scouts said, ‘We can’t go in there because the people are really big and we are small.’ They didn’t have the heart to fight and they didn’t trust in their Father that He would fight for them. So what happened? They had to wander the wilderness for 40 years so they could learn to trust in God and learn how to be free people who belong to the One Holy God.”
“The Lord has set us free through the waters of Baptism like God led the people of Israel through the waters of the Red Sea into freedom. God wants to lead us to greater freedom but we come up against a struggle, perhaps an interior battle of weakness or sin and we pull back in fear or despair. We need to recognize that God wants us to face that battle because God with His power wants to set us free in this area. But we tend to say, ‘I’m not willing to fight and I am not trusting that You will fight for me.’ So what happens…we wander the wilderness.”
“For the next 40 days, God is training us to be a fighter and to trust. God is training us to do battle with these sins, weaknesses, and habits. It’s about time they are rooted out. It’s about time. We say, ‘Ok, Lord, whatever it takes, I want to get rid of them, I want to be free.’ If it takes getting help or having accountability, I will do it. Next, we have to trust. We need to say, ‘Lord if I am willing to show up, You will be there. I know that if I am willing to do whatever it takes in my brokenness, I know You will do all that I can’t do.’ Grace does what we can’t do. Our Father will fight for us and with us, if we are willing to fight and cast everything upon our Lord Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit.”
I want to give up sin and worry for Lent. Are you with me? I saw this little guide below from Ashley Omera at the Catholic Company and thought it would be helpful. You just need to print and fold it and you will have a great visual reminder of your Lenten goals. A wise priest once said that in terms of fasting, whether it be from food, social media, television, etc., turn it into a positive. For instance, if you give up chocolate, donate food to a local food bank. If you give up Facebook, use that time in prayer, reading about the Saints, Adoration, or in service to others.
Everyone’s Lent will look different and we should not compare ourselves to others. The most important thing is that we take the time to ask the Lord what He most desires of us this Lent and then we be willing to fight for it and trust in Him. It doesn’t have to be many things, the important thing is that it(they) help deepen our relationship with God. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
Some Books on my Radar:
Give Up Worry for Lent! By: Gary Zimak
The Will Power Advantage– Building Habits for Lasting Happiness By: Tom Peterson and Ryan Hanning
The Seven Deadly Sins– By: Kevin Vost
In Conversation with God: By Francis Fernandez
Great article about the Seven Deadly Sins and the 7 Holy Virtues
God bless you, dear friends in Christ! Let’s pray for a most blessed Lent for each other!
If you have any books, articles, movies, experiences, or practices that have helped you grow closer to the Lord, please share in the comment section below. 🙂