I love children’s books and stories, and I collect them so I can share with others. Mostly I do so because the message is so powerful and yet told so simply. Recently, I was reading something by the children’s author Steve Herman, and it resonated deeply with what I wanted to share about the beginning of Lent.
“When I was a kid, I spent every Sunday at my grandmother's.
One day, she wanted me to help her plant a few seeds. I just threw them on the ground and expected something to grow instantly, like in a Disney movie.
The next Sunday, I asked Grandma why no trees had popped up yet…
“That’s not how it works,” she said to me as she laughed. “If you want it to grow, you need to give it food…” she continued.
“Food? Like ice cream, pizza, or spaghetti?” I asked…
“NO,” she laughed, “that is the food that you want, not what the tree wants. You need to give the tree water, fertilizer, and lots of sunshine. If you want the tree to grow, give it what it wants, not what you want!”
Lent, what do I want or what does God want for me?
So, what does God want? For me and many others, I am sure Lent becomes all about me: what will I do, what will I give up… Rather, it should be about God and developing our relationship with Him. Sacrifice means to make holy; how am I going to make myself holy this Lent?
It needs to be less about me and more about deepening my relationship with God. What must happen is the entire focus has to change. That can be difficult for many of us, as we have formed Lenten habits and practices that suit us so well. Can we step out of our comfort spaces and make this Lent a little different?
No one can make that focus change except you. You can begin to make that change perhaps by asking even the simple questions: how does this Lenten practice draw me closer to God and deepen our relationship? Do I understand what God wants from me this Lent, or am I too focused on what I want?
In order to grow, blossom, and develop that relationship, I can safely say that God wants our hearts. Am I willing to do that? For each of us, that will look different. Is it a risk I am willing to take? Don’t forget to look for the things that will help to develop that relationship, some which may even be things you may not want or choose.
Perhaps a companion for the journey might be necessary: someone to share with, or a journal for daily thoughts. What are things that can help you change your focus and yet remain focused? What are the things God wants this Lent, to help make it the best one ever?
Dare to give God your heart; you will not regret it. That could make this the best Lent ever!
Till next week,