By Amey Dice
This season of Lent has been unlike any other I’ve walked through. I began going to church in late middle school and, although Easter shortly became my favorite time of the year, I didn’t know about the 40 days that preceded it.
By the time I had understood what these 40 days were all about, no one had challenged me to actually participate in it. It wasn’t until this year when I was challenged to sacrifice for lent that I began to understand what it means to partake in this time.
I was sitting with friends discussing what it would mean for us to “go without” in order to better focus our attention on God. The minute that sleep was thrown out, I laughed and responded with a “definitely not,” which is how I knew exactly what I was giving up for the next 40 days.
I fight through depression, and I use sleep as a coping mechanism. The minute I start to feel overwhelmed, I go and take a nap. I know there are others who feel the same way and we all have places we go when we need a distraction or break. We all have outlets we escape to when we are uncomfortable or stressed and sleep is mine.
My plan was to progressively wake up earlier throughout Lent and cut out naps in the middle of the day to spend that time in prayer and reflection. We are 30 days into Lent, and I still haven’t fully met either of these goals.
Good thing this whole season is about grace, so I’m covered by it. If you let shame or guilt intrude into this season of Lentm you’re not celebrating the sacrifice of the cross. I wish I would have attempted and “failed” by my own standards at Lent years ago.
I know a lot of people who walk into Lent thinking they have to meet the standards they set for themselves “or else,” and inversely, some people don’t walk into the celebration of Lent at all, knowing they won’t be able to succeed.
My attempt to abstain from my perceived need of indulgent sleep has revealed to me the Truth that we, as God’s people, were created to live in. That is, we are in a desperate state of need for our creator and it’s only through the act of Christ on the cross that we are able to get there.
This season, while difficult, has made me more aware of my need to structure my time around the sacrifice of Christ. It’s made me increasingly aware of my inability to earn the grace I’ve been given. It’s allowed me to look at my utter failure and in the same glance see the Lord beside me, saying “Nevertheless, I am with you.”
Lent ends on April 13, which means it’s not too late to join this time. If you haven’t thought much about it, I want to invite you to look around at how you structure your day-to-day life and ask yourself what the Lord could teach you in this season without the fear of failure.
If you’re doing Lent this year, I want to urge you not to become discouraged at your progress but instead find joy in the grace that covers you, no matter where you find yourself.
This season of Lent is going to be unlike any other I will walk through, and I hope the same is true for you, as we learn what it means to be on a long walk home free of shame and guilt.
Amey is a junior psychology and Bible and religon major from East Canton, Ohio.