Lent has a bad reputation. Many people wonder, why would you give up something you love? How can not eating chocolate, or drinking coffee, or watching TV make that much of a difference in your spirit? Won’t it just make you grumpy?
But I look forward to Lent because I need the reminder to repent, to turn again to God. My day-to-day spiritual practices become rote over time and they start to lose their meaning. Lent allows me to stop, take a breath, and consider how I can return my gaze to God.
Lent can, and I think should be, hard, or at least not easy. We need to be reminded that living Jesus’ light is not easy. We also need to be reminded that something as small as giving up chocolate can help us feel compassion for others who are wanting and help us appreciate that we have the choice to give something up. During Lent, we realize that doing something seemingly that small can help us see God in our lives.
That is the hope of Lent. We start small, but the impact can be enormous. As Confucius said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” What are the small stones that need to be removed to allow you to turn towards God?