Why did I title this post as Lent with 4 question marks?
Because I don't understand Lent.
I grew up in a Evangelical church that didn't celebrate Lent. What I knew about Lent could be summed up in this: You aren't supposed to eat meat and you are supposed to give something up like chocolate or tv....Mardi Gras is somehow related and so is eating pancakes and fish....
I am not trying to be funny or disrespectful at all. I am telling you that is all I knew and about how jumbled it was.
The last few years have found me on journey...a journey away from the church I grew up in and closer to the Jesus I longed to know better. Believe it or not...the further away I got from the building and believers I called church for so many years....the more I wanted to and the more I actually did spend time with Him.
In leaving all that I knew about church...I have discovered church. This whole, on-going journey would be like 500 posts that didn't make sense so here is the short version.
I discovered I wasn't as close as I thought that I was to the Shepherd I thought I was following.
Not sure I am that much closer to Him now....I just now realize that I am not that close. But I have a those feelings in a healthy way that make me long to be closer. I no longer struggle with the guilty-I-must-be-doing-something-wrong feelings that made me do more 'stuff'. I spend less time doing 'stuff' instead spend more time praying and more time interacting outside of building referred to as 'church'.
I still don't have a formula to share or a how-to guide for you to follow....because there isn't one.
That is what I discovered.
I also discovered that people worship and spend time with Him in so many more ways than I had ever been taught or exposed to. Maybe we weren't all made to worship in the same exact way? Maybe the church I attended didn't have a monopoly on the worship/serving Christ thing after all????
So what does that have to do with Lent?
I am feeling convicted to celebrate Lent and have just begun the process of learning about it. Not necessarily Lent tied only to the Catholic church (an entity that know even less than Lent about) but rather the idea of purposely setting aside times to prepare and focus on the true significance of Easter.
Tonight as I looked through Pinterest searching under the term lent (yes, not even capitalized) I learned that the time of Lent that I am craving is to many others the very thing I just left - church ritual, how-to-guides, and requirements. Dozens of cheeky pins on guilt and silly rules of Lent. I understood their authors' sarcasm, frustration, and pain.
Yet, I still desire to participate, at least to some extent, in Lent. I now know that I no longer "have to" do any form of worship or repentance. I need to do what I need to do. I can be inspired and lead by others but it is ultimately my responsibility to seek out what His will is and do it.
Why this post?