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Lent Mis-spent by Kristin Wooldridge

For a number of years, more than I would like to admit, I thought the only way to pay honor during Lent was a deprivation of something physical. Giving up bread. Giving up chocolate. Giving up negativity. All three are definitely challenging, but the problem is that I was missing the point. I never went deeper than tracking the sacrifice. And let's face it, 40 days of no bread or no chocolate sure doesn't compare to the sacrifice of God's only son. Yep—I went there. Nothing I do will ever be at that ultimate level. 

I think the shift for me happened with age and definitely learning how to parent. The gravity of what sacrifice could look like was made on my heart when I had a child of my own and imaged the heartache of God watching Jesus live and die on Earth. So, around then I stopped chasing myself on one thing to give up, and I started drawing deeper meaning on what sacrifice and Lent mean. For me, it has evolved over time, which is great since I know that I am a work in process. I spend more time during Lent looking for what the active God, who is at work in our deep selves is doing. Even if we can't see it or hear God's voice, it is there. The active pursuit of faith, hope and love are just that... ACTIVE. It surrounds us and everyone around us. 

I personally choose to draw closer during Lent to observe life with a heart of gratefulness when I see acts of faith, love, and hope. So, no more guilt about messing up continuously during a Lent sacrifice. God calls me to lean into listening, learning and loving. Lent has become a deeper time for me with this change of heart and reflection. 

We are all uniquely different. So if giving up something works for you... GREAT. This isn't a shame session to lessen different methods of getting closer to God. It is just what Lent has become for me. Forty days of drawing closer in my own way. What does it look like for you?


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