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Drive-Home Blog

Today is Ash Wednesday. I only know this because I keep stumbling across blogs about it. 

Lent wasn't a part of my faith tradition growing up, but I've learned some interesting things about it in recent years. I'm beginning to appreciate the motivation of those who use the season as an opportunity to prepare their hearts in the weeks leading up to the celebration of Easter.

Nevertheless, I never quite feel prepared for Lent when it shows up. I often find myself reading about things different people are choosing to focus on throughout the season and wondering, "Should I be doing that thing that they're doing? Should I just pick something to do or not do because it's Lent?" 

This pattern of thought has become a well worn path in my heart. The grass is trampled down flat. I think I can see the "destination" in the distance, and "measuring up" or "doing it right" seems like the only way to get there.

The problem is, I've trekked this path hundreds of times, and it never leads me anywhere but in circles. When I'm on that road, traditions like Lent (and other spiritual disciplines) turn into another opportunity to try and prove myself to God... and everybody else.

And that's not what Lent is about. 

These words from Emily Freeman helped me see this more clearly: 

"Today on Ash Wednesday, I acknowledge my hopelessness apart from Christ, my anxiety outside of his presence, my certain death if not for his sacrifice... I am hopeless without Him.

Lent is not just about death. It's also about life. It's about hope

Again, these words from RELEVANT Contributor Zachary K Perkins brought new perspective to this season for me. He says, "Lent is the spring of hope for all who believe that the tomb is empty and the oppression of sin and death is released. It is the spring of hope for those mourning and grieving." 

A spring of hope. 

Maybe for you this year Lent looks like giving up something, in order to focus more intentionally on something else.

Maybe it means taking a break from a habit, in order to develop a new one.

Or maybe not. Maybe Lent for you this year won't involve any obvious external behavior or practice. 

Maybe instead, you'll hear the sound of water in the distance, and find yourself looking up from your blistered and bleeding feet that have been carrying you around and around that well worn path for as long as you can remember.

Maybe you'll take a few steps away from that path and walk toward the sound. Because it sounds a lot like hope... 

Come and see.

I know it's hard to trust again. Let me show you what I'm really like.

Come and see. 

I know it's scary. But you don't have to do this alone.

Come and see.

I know you feel like you'll never measure up. And you don't have to. You're already loved.

Come and see.

I know you've been going in circles for a long time. It's okay. Leave the shame behind. It's time you were free. 

Come and see.

For me, I think Lent this year is about learning to forget my idea of what it means to "do it right," and learning to remember that Jesus is my spring of hope.