God’s Grace and Peace to you on this first Sunday in Lent!
Where do you find everyday comfort and release? Some find comfort in drinks or foods, you know, those so called “comfort foods”. Some find comfort in dinner cocktails or wine. Some find comfort in ridding their minds of daily stresses and anxieties by playing computer games or checking in on Facebook. Some find walking, running or exercising the way to relieve stress. Some even turn to drugs to self medicate anxieties. Others have to find other people and talk out their frustrations. We all have our coping mechanisms that help us make it through the day and the ups and downs of life. Some of our choices are healthy and some are not so healthy and sometimes those coping mechanisms turn into real addictions that alter our lives forever.
Lent is a time of mindfulness. It is a time to think about what and who we turn to in times of stress and anxiety. Lent reminds us that the one who has suffered the most for our sake is Jesus. There is no other human who has ever suffered the shame, the persecution, the humiliation, the beatings for no reason of his own. There is no one or no thing that can offer us the compassion, love and understanding that Jesus can. So why do we turn to so many other options?
Lent is a time of intentionality. Perhaps we can “give up” some of those unhealthy ways of coping in order to spend that time and energy focusing on being intentional about making Jesus part of our daily lives. Perhaps we can mindfully and intentionally incorporate a time of prayer into our day to talk to God about what is hurting us — mentally, spiritually and relationally. Maybe God will even answer us in some very unexpected ways.
Lent is a time to remember. Take some time to read the Scriptures, remember the stories of Jesus’ ministry, life and death as told in the Gospels. It is sometimes hard to reconnect with the brutality of the crucifixion but by mindfully and intentionally remembering, we re-connect with the one who is God-with-us and perhaps we can find a new way of us being-with-God.