I've never celebrated Lent. In fact, I don't even know if that's what you call it - celebrate? observe? participate in?
I haven't ever really known the purpose of Lent. For as long as I can remember, it's been my understanding that it's a time before Easter in which you give something up, sacrifice something, as a symbol of the sacrifice God made in sending His Son to earth and the sacrifice Jesus made in giving His life for us. The things that I'd seen people give up were things that they didn't really need, wouldn't really miss, & wouldn't know they were missing anything had they never had that thing in the first place.
I'm still not sure if I fully understand Lent, but this week, I've seen the purpose of Lent in a new light - a time in which you give something up for the purpose of drawing closer to God. This (drawing closer to God) has been weighing heavily on me lately. In fact, for the past five mornings, I've woken up with this song playing in my mind:
These past four months in Thailand, I've gotten better at managing my time to include time daily to spend in God's Word. However, this time has evolved into exclusively Bible study time. I think for lack of know-how & maybe a little fear at what He might reveal in me, I've turned the time I set aside to just be with God into a time where I'm studying & reading the words of other people about His Word. I'm not at all saying that studying the Bible is a bad thing - I need that just as much, but I've let it overtake my time with Him.
I think this heaviness that I've had lately is God wanting to draw me back to Him - just to Him - not to spend all of my time studying & reading the words of other people. To just be still in His Word & listen to Him. To pour myself out each day so that He can fill me. To ask Him to reveal to me where I need to change, what I need to let go of. To just be with Him.
I don't think it's a coincidence - the timing of what God has put on my heart and the beginning of Lent. So, I've decided to give something up for the purpose of drawing closer to Him.
That something is facebook.
I know to some this may be a trivial thing to give up, but for me, this is about the only way I have to stay connected with everyone at home. But, right now and always, I need God more.
(This isn't to say I don't want to stay in contact with everyone at home - I do! You'll just have to reach me through e-mail or my blog. :) )
So, how am I feeling about this?
Excited? Yes! I'm excited to see where God will take me during this time.
Anxious? Yes! I'm anxious to see what He will reveal in me - areas where I need to change & let go of things.
But mostly, I'm fully anticipating the joy, the peace, & the contentment that will come from just being with Him.