Because you sent your beloved Son to redeem us from sin and death, and to make us heirs in him of everlasting life; that when he shall come again in power and great triumph to judge the world, we may without shame or fear rejoice to behold his appearing.
“Preface of Advent”, The Book of Common Prayer
You may have noticed that I haven’t kept true to my New Year’s resolution of writing a blog post every week at all. I have written exactly two posts this year. I got buried underneath a small mountain of schoolwork for a while there.
It’s interesting that now is when I return – the night before Lent begins, the night before I embark on a six-week fast and return to where I am called to be. Behind following Christ, I believe that I’m called to write here – mostly because I for some reason have not abandoned this blog for a whole year and a half. And I like writing, and I like teaching and encouraging people, and I like having my own little corner of the Internet where I can write and process and it doesn’t necessarily have to be pretty and put-together, like most social media does.
But anyways, Lent. Guys, Lent is quite possibly my favorite season in the liturgical calendar. Lent is the road to the Gospel – the explicit, bloody, hard-to-swallow Gospel in its fullness of action. It is time for your heart to become contrite before the Lord again. It is time to lay down your addictions and your distractions – which, you will find, most of the time, source many of your burdens. It is time to fast from the things that you have been led to believe fill you, and to return to Jesus and walk the road to resurrection with Him. It’s to remember, it’s to reflect, it’s to allow Him to be the fullness of Himself without other things getting in the way.
I encourage you to fast. Doesn’t have to be food – I’ve actually never done that before. But fast from something that distracts you from spending time with God. (If something just came to mind and you don’t want to give it up, that’s the thing you should give up.) My parents have fasted from things like caffeine and sugar before. I’ve had friends give up things like secular music, makeup, or gossip.
This year will be my third year of giving up social media. That’s an addiction that runs into deeper addictions – on surface level, it’s a fear of stillness and inactivity and a desire to always be occupied, and to always have something going on, and deeper still is vanity and wanting people to see me in a certain light. It is a common addiction, but I don’t want its commonality to make it acceptable as a competitor to experiencing God.
I keep coming back to that last line of the Preface to Lent: “that when he shall come again in power and great triumph to judge the world, we may without shame or fear rejoice to behold his appearing.”
We may without shame or fear rejoice to behold His appearing. I have experienced a lot of fear – a lot of fear – in my relationship with God, in terms of how He views me and if He loves me and if I will enter His kingdom, and even if I do, will it be terrifying?
I believe that Lent is time that God has put on the hearts of men so that they may return to Him and allow Him to set things right in our hearts. I believe that during this time, the Lord is especially hungry for us to return, to rediscover our first Love, to allow Him to dispel our fears and our sins as we repent and step away from our idols. That’s why I believe it is so important to give something up – not to be miserable, but rather to be glad in His presence – the truest source of gladness.
I feel so full of hope for this season beginning tomorrow. I have some things planned – I am going through She Reads Truth’s Lent study, and I am considering posting acoustic covers of the hymns in their booklet to Instagram in lieu of regular posts. But I’m excited for more time to be still. I’m excited to see what God is going to do in my heart and in the hearts around me.
I’ve been listening to Come As You Are by Crowder while writing this post – if you want to get into that Lent state of mind, that song’s a good one.
Come as you are.