I’ve been in a place I don’t want to be.
A desert. The wilderness. Literally.
Where lost and searching souls are devoured 24/7 by seven deadly sins.
Pride. Gluttony. Lust. Greed. Sloth. Envy. Anger.
I am searching for treasures in darkness.
Pursuing beauty as a protest against brokenness.
Necessary Lent practices are being amplified to me while on an obligatory business trip with my husband in Las Vegas. Sin city.
Indulgence. Wastefulness. Spiritual neglect. Slothfulness. Deception.
It’s all an intensified representation of the wasteland, desert and brokenness exemplified in many forms in and around us on earth.
Suffering and trials. Constraints of life. Weary from burdens. Busyness.
Mundane daily duties and obligations. Disconnection. Despair.
What is the ‘wilderness’ or ‘brokenness’ you are aware of – in and around you this first week of Lent?
The Lenten season is a great leveler
Lent is a symbolic 40 day journey through the ‘desert of our soul’ as we prepare for the Spiritual Awakening of Easter.
We are reminded of when the Israelites wandered the wilderness for 40 years. When Jesus was led into the wilderness 40 days and nights, being tempted in all ways.
Lent is a holy intervention.
Recognize that you don’t always live up to the goodness that God calls you to. Intentionally nurture your inner life.
Lent is an invitation to turn back to God and draw closer to Jesus.
Receiving more of His new life in you – His beauty for your brokenness.
And so, the Lenten ‘wilderness’ journey begins.
1. Ask big questions
Lent invites you to take a fearless, honest inventory of your life.
How am I doing in loving God, living the fullness of His love and life through me?
How is Jesus present in my life?
Where in my life have I drifted, strayed, become distant from God?
What do I need to turn away from?
What disciplines /practices can help me find my way back?
What daily rhythms will keep me on the path to flourish?
2. Reflect and self-examine
Lent invites you to examine your heart. Face up to your real human condition.
Holy discontent. Confession. Repentance.
Speak to Jesus about the typical ways in which you find yourself tempted to step off the path that God is leading you along.
3. Intentionally make big and small surrenders
Lent invites you to Spiritual Practices that provide guidance along the way.
Receiving His love and forgiveness, we are renewed and transformed.
Gratitude. Dependence. Fasting. Simplicity. Surrender.
Obedience. Letting go. Letting God love you.
Speak to Jesus about the help you need to resist temptations, heal the brokenness in your life and embrace more of His transforming life in you.
4. Turn towards transformation
Lent invites you to choose life.
Pay attention to God’s voice within as well as other people’s needs around.
Now, for the rest of my Las Vegas story.
I chose to notice remnants of life and beauty.
Artistically arranged colorful flowers.
Synchronized dancing waters. Cascades of streaming waters.
Found a quiet place of beauty in the midst of this ‘desert’ – at a tranquil spa.
Fresh, smoke free air. Warm water hydrotherapy. Peaceful music.
Solitude. Silence. Meditation. Prayer.
At dinner I spoke with precious souls eager to share, yearning to be heard and longing for kind words.
Community. Spiritual friends. Giving. Serving.
The Spirit of God is in you and with you wherever you go.
He is light – pure light – and in Him there is no darkness.
There is always beauty around you to balance brokenness.
Goodness and virtue in the midst of drudgery and deadly sins.
God will always reveal His virtues and treasures in darkness.
Choose His life.
Grace. Joy. Peace. Hope. Faith.
Self control. Zeal. Love. Diligence. Patience. Kindness. Humility. Generosity.
What are you being called to turn away from?
What beautiful virtues are you being invited to pursue?
FURTHER RESOURCES FOR LENT
Why Beauty Matters For Balance Against Brokenness
First Week of Lent: One Beggar Sharing Bread With Another Beggar