Honestly, when someone asks you to be good to yourself do you change anything? Do anything differently? Me…well I might have a bar of chocolate or ignore the washing up for an hour or even skip the run I was going to go on. Essentially I play a game of avoidance. I do one thing which at that particular moment is kind of nice but not really good or beneficial for me. I have probably never responded with yes your right I will take a multivitamin right now or yes I am going to go have 5 minutes out and pray right now although these things may be better for me than the bar of chocolate or putting my feet up.
For a number of years, I have looked at lent as being my favourite time of year. I find sacrificing something that has become routine equally challenging and rejuvenating. I have given up many things from chocolate, bread, bottled water to tv, social media, the bus. I have also undertaken things, new prayer routines, routes to work, getting up without hitting the snooze button. I enjoy the spring clean of my priorities, the changing of my perspectives and reorganisation of my goals and mostly I enjoy doing it as a gesture of prayer or engaging with God and an acknowledgement of the challenge He sets me to be who He created. After all Lent is about refocusing on Him right?
This is my 32nd Lent I am not new to the game. It is a familiar part of the year and I thought I knew what it was about. Fasting, prayer and alms giving…preparation for Easter. How would you describe it? This year an amazing sermon shook this a little. What I took from it was that Lent is a time to be selfish to look at yourself and think God is about to die for me so I can have life, He is prepared to give me all I need, do I know what that is? It is time to stop prioritising work, family, society, to stop playing a game and to get serious about being good to yourself.
If God’s suffering is part of the path to resurrection and communion with the Father. Am I suffering this lent or am I being good to myself making the most of the life He died for? What is truly good for me? Lent is a gift not a sacrifice. A gift of freedom from ingrained routines that can wear us down. A gift from habit that is blocking our path and a gift of opportunity and time to see who we really are. We have been loved to death, we have been claimed by passion and we are called to be good to ourselves so as to capable of spreading the true goodness of God.