Something big is coming.
As a general rule, I hate change. I am quick to judge and slow to warm. Transitions are tough for me.
These days, however, I am craving a change. My anxiety, some of it my own creation and some of it borrowed from the outside world, has left me weary. I’m eager for a fresh start. I’m excited for the something big.
As with most things, there is good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad: the something big requires a lot of work. Think of how your body feels after a run: chest heaving, shins aching, hair sticking to your hot cheeks. Imagine if your soul felt like that. The something big demands that sort of effort, exertion. Now, for the good news: the something big comes with countless gifts. Think of how your body feels after a shower: skin soft, muscles relaxed, hair dripping down your bare back. Imagine if your soul felt like that. The something big can cleanse you, calm you, heal you.
Even I’m okay with that kind of change.
Preparations for the something big start in 7 days, on March 1, with Ash Wednesday. Christians from the Catholic and Protestant traditions will spread ashes across their foreheads in acknowledgment of their iniquity and mortality. Just like Job, they will pray, “I despise myself,/ and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).
For approximately 40 days thereafter, us Christians will undertake certain sacrifices and practices to grow closer to God. We will do so in the example of Jesus, who “was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1b-2a).
Then, on Sunday, April 16, we will celebrate the biggest something that ever was: Easter. Just as Peter did some 2,000 years ago, we will get up and run to the tomb; stoop and look in, [and] see the linen cloths by themselves. We will return home, amazed at what has happened (see Luke 24:12).
How will you prepare to fully experience and embrace the something big?
If you’re not sure how to prepare, reflect on the questions below. Your preparation may involve sacrificing something (e.g., alcohol, makeup, social media, etc) for the 40 days. Or, your preparation may involve doing something new (e.g., volunteering with a local charity, reading a devotional, calling your grandma, etc). The questions below helped me make my own Lenten commitments, and I hope they will help you prepare appropriately for Easter. I pray that, when the something big does come, it will change us and our world like never before.
- How can I better love and serve God?
- What practices help me connect with God (e.g., studying the Bible, walking a labyrinth, keeping a journal, etc)?
- Can I engage in these practices more frequently?
- If so, how can I make time and space for these practices?
- How can I better love and serve my neighbor?
- Have I demonstrated all the fruits of of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, etc)?
- If not, how can grow in one or more of these fruits?
- Is there a particular relationship in my personal or professional life that needs particular attention or effort right now?
- Is there a need in my local or national community that I can address?