Ash Wednesday. I've never really practiced Lent or honored this day. But why not? Does this day -- do these next forty days -- present me with a unique opportunity to become a present...a gift to my Lord?
I think of Ash Wednesday and my mind fills with words that feel like gravel in my mouth -- religion, legalism, sacrifice. How do I experience this beauty from ashes without drowning in religiosity? Religiosity doesn't save us, it confines us. Legalism doesn't free us, it binds us. Sacrifice done only for the sake of the calendar, birthed out of duty, isn't necessarily a gift from the heart. And isn't that what the heart of Lent should be?
So how do I jump into Lent this Ash Wednesday and know it will be meaningful? How do I breathe love into these next forty days? Is it really about giving up chocolate, caffeine, or my favorite TV show?
Lord, how would you like me to honor this day and the season of Lent? I cry out to Him, because isn't it supposed to be all about HIM? I pray for a sacred list. What I get in return is a love letter.
"Give me more time -- in fellowship and in prayer. Give me your early mornings and spend time with Me."
Really, Lord? Am I not supposed to give something up?
"Give up your habit of worrying. For the next forty days, choose to not worry about anyone or anything. Give up worrying."
Worry? But it comes so naturally to me. It's as easy as breathing. I've always been a compulsive worrier. Are you sure you don't want me to give up chocolate or TV??
My heart knows better. So I make the decision to give Him my early mornings, and to give up my addiction to worrying.
It's my love letter back to Him.
"Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. with thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God."
"You hear my voice in the morning; at sunrise I offer my prayer and wait for Your answer."