I grew up in a contemporary, nondenominational church, and hard as I try to remember, I can’t think of a single conversation about Lent in all my years there. It simply wasn’t a part of the church’s culture. All I knew from Lent came from my best friend, who usually gave up things like pop, gum, or chocolate during the 40 days of Lent. Half of me thought she was crazy, and the other half was impressed at her self-control. One year I decided to give up pop, more because I needed to cut down on my consumption than because I was making a sacrifice for the Lord. Nor surprisingly, I failed.
Lately God has been calling me to dig deeper into my relationship with Him. He’s been nudging me more and more to trust and surrender myself, my hopes, and my dreams to Him. And I’ve tried to ignore it, afraid to surrender my all.
How sad is that? Christ died for my sins, and I can’t completely surrender my life to Him? He who has only my best interests at heart, who only has plans for my good, who loves me more than I can ever imagine?
“’ For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”-Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
So this year for Lent, I’m surrendering. I’m laying it all down at His feet, my life, my hopes, my dreams, everything. I yearn for a deeper relationship with Him, and I know that I need to surrender. It’s scary, and I’m not sure I’m going to like this process, but here goes. I’m surrendering so He can refine me, and make me into the woman He created me to be.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away…And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit..”-2 Corinthians 3:16, 18 (NIV)
I’ll be joining some other bloggers in using the eBook “Holey, Wholey, Holy” on our Lenten journeys of surrender and refinement. You see, I’ve been learning that Lent is a period of preparation for Easter. Preparation of the heart. So, through this journey, I will be surrendering my all to my Lord, and asking Him to refine me, turning me into a woman who truly, deeply, with-all-of-her-soul surrenders to His Will. I have no idea what will happen, but I’m finally ready for this journey. Prayers are appreciated.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”-Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
On a side note, I am also fasting from Facebook during Lent. For me, this was a hard decision. I live 8,000 miles from my friends and family, and Facebook is really my main form of communication. However, it takes me away from life in my village and time spent in the Word too much, so it’s going away for Lent. I’ve already uninstalled the app on my phone, and am looking forward to this (temporary) change.
Are you participating in Lent? What are you sacrificing?