Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Joel 2:12,13
As one not being raised in the Catholic tradition, I never gave Lent much thought. I gave Easter much thought. I always loved celebrating the whole week of Easter and I used to love when Good Friday was more a part of our culture in America. I remember businesses closing at noon and many gathered for service, either at their own church or a multi-church community service. I used to love it when the day was cloudy on Good Friday. It somehow seemed right.
In past years, I have given more thought to the period leading up to Easter known as Lent. It has become more important for me to reflect longer on all the events leading up to the Resurrection.
Every year I hear people talk about what they will be "giving up" for Lent, sometimes jokingly, sometimes not. In fact, it happened just this morning. Every year I ask myself, or rather God, what He would have me give up. Almost at once, I go through the list of things, and they are usually always the same ones. Sugar, chocolate, meat, books.....wine. There they are, not necessarily in order of importance. But what about the really hard ones?
Not trusting, being fearful, worrying. Taking matters into my own hands that should be resting safely in Gods hands.
And this year, the answer came back.
Just give me your whole self.
To me, it is not so much what things I give up, but that I give my whole heart. And if He asks me, each and every one of those other things I listed. At whatever time He says, knowing that sometimes, at different times, it is important to give up something for someone else, in order to not make them stumble.