I know. Maybe not what you were expecting from someone whose tagline for her newsletter is "journeying through sacred seasons together", because what season in the Christian calendar has quite the draw of Lent?
I have been noticing something around seasons like Lent (and Advent too) and that is the overwhelming number of invitations on offer. There are courses and groups and email lists and workshops. And so many of them offered by wise and wonderful people who I love.
But as I was sitting with how I wanted to show up at the start of this Lenten season, the pull of my spirit was to stop.
It is so very tempting to think that if we just do this practice right, everything will be alright. If we can engage in the right way, find the right offering from the right person, finally have the discipline this time to stick it out all the way to Easter, then the desired transformation will happen.
I know because I feel that way often, most particularly at the start of a season like Lent. This next six weeks to Easter is a season of repentance - that word meaning a literal turning around - and for many of us, we wish for some kind of turning around in our lives.
We wish for our relationships to turn around and improve - to be better at parenting, to have friendships that feel reciprocal and meaningful, for our significant other to treat us the way we long for. We wish for our work to turn around - to make enough money, for our professional potential to be seen, or to finally get some damn affirmation. We wish for our circumstances to turn around - for the car not to break down again, for the scan results to be hopeful, to not always dread turning on the news.
And oh our spiritual lives are not immune to that desire for change.
If only, we whisper to ourselves, looking constantly for that thing, that promise to change us, to turn us around, to transform us.
What if what you most need to turn away from is not believing you are already worthy?
There is no prayer formula, no spiritual practice, no theological doctrine or biblical interpretation that can increase your belovedness.
There is no pilgrimage you can walk, no fast you can keep, no amount of service you can offer the world, that will make you more worthy.
You are beloved. You are worthy. You are enough.
(and I am preaching to myself, as much as to you, right now).
And so, if the thought of a Lenten practice makes your heart leap with delight, fills your spirit with a spaciousness, then please go for it!
But if the thought of not needing to strive yet again for an impossible standard of spirituality allows you to breathe a great sigh of relief...
then maybe this Lent, let yourself stop.
Choose to stay with the practices you already have that bring you life and hope and draw you closer to Love.
Or choose simply to rest from it all. Nothing will break. No bolts of lightning will be thrown by angry gods. You will not be lost forever.
Rest in the truth of your belovedness, your enoughness, your worthiness.
Source of the one who said
"My yoke is easy, my burden is light", we long for that ease - not the ease of inertia and apathy, but the ease that comes from knowing deep down down to our bones that we are loved right now as we are from everlasting to everlasting. Release us from practices and doctrines that only lay more weight upon our souls and free us to rest in our own worthiness. May it be so.