Faith

Lent prep. Starting with the end in mind.

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Father Boston-priest: “What do people do in Detroit for Fat Tuesday? Shoot off guns?”
Me: “No. We mostly eat Polish doughnuts that have been filled with custard or jelly or other sugary fillings. Have you heard of paczki?”
Him: “No. But, I feel like I could get on board.”
(Also…Mardi Gras dress YES).

This guy walked out of mass with me today and he said, “Hey, I’m not sure what I should do for Lent.”

 

Oh, rly.

Leeeeent.

See, I kind of know what I should do.

Here’s the deal: if I just do something fluffy and lame like, “Jesus, reveal your heart to mine, OK, amen,” and I pray that prayer once, on Ash Wednesday, I get to Easter Sunday and I’m like, “Nell, you just wasted that time. Lame.”

BUT, if I do something stupid and hard like giving up really, really hard things like listening to music or wearing colors (that’s a big sacrifice for me, OK?!?! Don’t judge my life), then I arrive at Easter Sunday and the grace is apparent.

So I told that guy and I’m telling this blog but FIRST AND FOREMOST I’M TELLING MYSELF: begin with the end in mind.

What do you want your Easter Sunday to look like? Do you want it to be a triumph after a few weeks of hard work where you can see a marked change in yourself? Or do you want it to be not much more than this last Sunday?

Grace comes from God, but grace builds on nature, and you get to pick your nature, good golly.

(BTW, this is a pep talk for me as well. So much so).

You get to decide to go for the real, hardcore things that stretch you and suck until halfway through Lent you’re like, “Ehhhhh, is it even worth it??”

But, they are. They really, really are.

You get to pick your priorities.

Where are you priorities?

Take a big step this Lent. Sign up for the thing you look at and say, “God. There is no way I can do this alone,” because you probably can’t, and that’s OK.

We have a God that can sustain us and help us grow.

Be hardcore.

Pick the hard thing that you’re almost too scared to pick. Where do you want to see a marked change? What part of your life can be converted, still, until you’re closer to the saint you’re called to be? If you listen, verrrrry closely, what terrifying thing is the Holy Spirit whispering to you that you barely want to hear? Open your ears. Open your heart. Open the next 40 days.

Then grab Jesus’ hand and go for it.

(And, when it starts to get hard, don’t worry. It’ll be hard for me, too. We can compare notes. I’ll love you forever).

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