Lent is one of those times of year, similar to New Years, that its natural to start or stop something new. The Christian thought behind this is to help us focus and center ourselves on God, taking away something that has caused us to lose sight of Him or adding in a spiritual discipline to aid in our focusing. It also simulates the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert fighting temptations from Satan, only to conquer that time and those temptations. We are called to fight temptations as well, but its not as easy for us.
For one, we are 100% human – not human and divine – and this distinction makes a HUGE difference. We are innately wired to feel temptation, but we are called in our love for God to lean into Him during those temptations in order to fight them. I’ll be the first to tell you that when I want a candy bar that I know will undo the work I’ve put in at the gym, my first thought is almost never to pray – but it should be 🙂
For two, we have the ability to choose freely what we want – commonly referred to as free will. We have the opportunity to choose what we want in big things and in small things – those things that bring us closer to God, as well as the ones that pull us further from Him. Lent is our set aside time to refocus, find our center again, determine what brings us joy and purpose, and to push the things out of our mind that go against any of those things. Its not easy, but it is rewarding.
I have been focusing on my body through workouts, my mind through reading each day and my soul by spending time in devotion – I can tell I am a healthier, happier, more centered me today than I was last week. But you don’t have to brush this aside if you don’t follow God, or missed the start of Lent – just start today. Refocus, find your center, then fill each day with things that bring you pure joy and purpose.