We are four weeks into Lent and have a few more weeks to go on our journey. Maybe when Ash Wednesday rolled around, you had a lot of energy and big plans. You were going to journal, attend daily Mass, read a spiritual book, exercise each day, and give up sweets and swearing. You were going to welcome in Easter as a completely transformed disciple. Then, as it always seems to do, life happened! Maybe the scent of chocolate wafts from your lips as you cuss and say, “I haven’t stayed committed to my Lenten observances at all!?” Don’t be discouraged! You are not alone; I don’t feel like I’m doing too hot either.
I tend, too often, to make a crazy long list of what I want to accomplish for Lent, and it gets to be way too much. I end up experiencing “spiritual burnout.” Add that to the crazy Covid year we have been having and it is a dangerous mix. Thankfully, I want you to know it’s not too late. Lent is still here, and God is raring to work with us! So, let me encourage you to engage again and remember God is here to help. He is at work in you and for you.
First, turn to Jesus and have a conversation. Begin again and return to the Lord to start over. Tell him why you think you didn’t accomplish all the things you set out to do. Perspective is important. If I am going to do a lot of tough things, but don’t know why, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. What is your motivation? Understanding that, will make you more likely to succeed.
Second, recalibrate your plans. Holiness is less about all the things I do, and more about what God does in me. All of your “activity” can get in the way of you actually “connecting” with God. What do you think the Lord is asking?
Third, reach out for help. What kind of support do you need to have this remaining time of Lent be fruitful and positive for you? Maybe ask a friend to go to morning Mass with you? Invite someone to discuss your spiritual journey. Odds are, they will benefit as well. Ask someone to hold you accountable to your tasks. Also, have fun and be creative. Too often we see Lent as a time of penance and sacrifice, but we forget that it can be joyful and life-giving.
Four, write down your resolutions – make them more tangible. We are 40% more likely to see goals reach fulfillment when they are written. Put them on your mirror or over your coffee pot to remind yourself in the morning.
Five, fast from yourself, get out of your head, forget your needs and do something for another. Helping others will give you a new perspective and motivation.
Finally, remember: Jesus fell three times on the road to Calvary. He kept going because he loves you. When you fall, get up. If you’ve broken your Lenten goals, don’t use it as an excuse to give up. Remember Jesus got back up and kept going, so can you! So can I.
God bless our weeks ahead!