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I did not grow up practicing Lent. As an adult, there have been years I have practiced Lent and some where I did not.

I am not sure how it all quite happened but this season, I chose to lay down two things:

  • I gave up bread so I would focus on Christ: The Bread of Life and
  • I gave up self-promotion of my posts

And here is what I learned ….

Each of these presented challenges for very different reasons. Each of these taught me lessons for which I was not anticipating. Lent is difficult.

I gave up bread to focus on Christ, The Bread of Life and was unsuccessful at times. I was but a few days into Lent when, at lunch with my grandchildren, I ate a roll. It never even occurred to me what I had ingested until it was long gone. The second time, also at a restaurant, I ordered a pastrami sandwich ( I was hankering for pastrami) and had a lengthy conversation with the waitress on the choices of bread. Again, it had somehow slipped my mind about bread and Lent.

I also gave up self-promoting of my posts which may seem like such an insignificant thing but loomed larger than imagined. In a time when numbers, platforms, and growth seem to center around blogging, I chose silence. I gave myself certain parameters thinking it would be easy. Unknown to me, at the time, were opportunities which God would compel me to pass up. Insecurity began to grip me causing me to feel I was insignificant and invisible.

And now the Lenten season is over. I can eat bread. I can participate in social media to my heart’s content.

Or can I?

I am finding myself changed. Is that not the purpose of Lent?

I learned the expected lessons …

  • Lent is challenging.
  • I will fall short. OK, I will fail.
  • I cannot do it on my own.
  • I need God in my life more than I could have ever known.

I knew I would learn these lessons. Or perhaps, I should say, I would relearn these lessons. For had I not learned these before? Yet, once again, I was recognizing these lessons and felt truly appreciative of the reminder. Of my humanness. Of my frail self. Of my great need of a Savior – every single day.

This morning as I reflect on Lent, I felt to turn and read of an encounter Jesus had one day while traveling.

A young man approached Jesus and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus responds, pretty much, by telling him he must not break the ten commandments.

The young man responds, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” And here is where it gets even more interesting …

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done, “ he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this, the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (entire story is found in Mark 10:17-22, NLT)

This story is truly not solely about the riches. It is about loving God wholeheartedly. Much like the rich, young ruler, we all tend to think we already love God with all our heart. We may not even realize other things have wiggled their way into our lives and won over our affections.

This story teaches me that nothing can come before God. God requires the removal of anything we may place before or above God. God insists we remove idols and give Him the place in our hearts reserved for Him alone.

LoveIdol_FC_Endorsement_101413In her book, Love Idol, Jennifer Dukes Lee shared this prayer …

Dear God, let my words and my life honor You. I’m willing to fall flat on my face if it brings glory to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (page 252)

Somewhere over the last forty days, these very words became my prayer as well. I want my words and my life to honor Him. To bring Him glory. And it took me falling flat on my face, in surrender not failure, to realize it. But perhaps, this is the very place He desires for each of us to be – our lives flat out before Him in surrender and adoration.

Truly no better place to be.

Today I am joining … Hear It, Use It and Sharing His Beauty and Motivation Mon. and Inspire Me Mon. and Making Your Home Sing and Living Proverbs 31 and Mon. Musings and The Modest Mom and Inspire Me Monday .