A few months back, I wrote about how being a healthy person kind of rolls over from one area of your life into another. Which is true. and when you’re in seasons where you’re like nailing the being a whole, healthy human… that is awesome.
But other times it’s more like a domino effect, where you watch everything kind of fall apart. I’ve been in that kind of funk since November.
And then here comes Lent.
My most favorite season in the world.
Because Lent, for me, marks the beginning of spring.
It tells me that winter is melting and as I quietly enter a dark season of self-denial, at the end of it will be Resurrection Sunday.
Today marks the beginning of a journey that ends with an empty tomb.
An empty tomb that inspires some of my favorite lyrics:
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost it’s grip on me
Look. Sin’s curse might have lost it’s grip on me, but sometimes I’ve got my hands gripped around sin. And let’s be real. A lot of the sins I deeply struggle with are socially acceptable sins.
Eating a Chick-Fil-A sandwich isn’t a sin by most people’s standards, but when gluten makes your legs itch to the point of tears, and you choose an immediate indulgence before truly weighing the long-term consequences… that’s a heart issue. Heart issues have no boundaries, because you take your heart into all the areas of your life. Do you get what I’m saying?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, who was buying into this popular philosophy: Everything is permissible.
We live in an “everything is permissible” age, don’t we? We are encouraged to be YES people – to be okay with the idea of doing all the things all the ways all the time.
The Apostle Paul, aware of the power of God’s grace, said to them that sure, everything is permissible. That is, there is not a sin in the world that God’s grace cannot suffocate. HOWEVER, he points out, not everything is beneficial. I can eat that Chick-Fil-A sandwich. I have the money, mouth and stomach. But I also have a gluten sensitivity which makes the sandwich a poor decision.
But it’s not all about going into the wilderness. That is, it’s n0t just about leaving the thing. The danger with creating a hole is that SOMETHING will fill it.
My friends and I have an every-so-often Bible Study. It meets on Friday nights, which has made it hard for me to go to. But for Lent, we’re focusing on refreshing ourselves with water and Living Water. We’re taking 10 minutes a day to write out a passage of Scripture and being intentional about drinking water while we do it.
That’s the fill. The fill is to be refreshed every day, regardless of if I feel like I’m dying of thirst or not. It’s kind of like my spiritual life. I need to sit and meditate on the words of Christ even if I feel like I can wake up and walk out of the door without it.
A year ago I walked into the Lenten season a glutton of happy. In no part of my life did I have want. I had enough money to do what I wanted, I had finally snagged the boy I’d been heart eyes emoji about, I watched a lot of Lifetime Original Movies in my yoga pants, I drank all the coffee, ate all the things, didn’t read much of the Bible.
There was a thunderstorm on Easter. and God spoke to me. and the next day that season of emotional gluttony came to an end. I slept with my Bible on my bed and I rolled over every morning with tears falling out of my face and soaked up as much of God’s word as I could.
It was literally my soul being so thirsty because I hadn’t bothered to stay refreshed.
Again, the fill: refresh.
The pour: gluten. dairy. wasted mornings. and oversized, indulgent coffee beverages.
All things that are permissible but definitely not beneficial.
Welcome Lenten season 2016.