Thoughts on Lent…

Feb 19, 2010

Richard Gotthardt

“Be careful with mirrors. You never know what they’re going to say.”

-The Queen in Snow White

OK, I made up the quote, but I think she might have said something of the sort. Mirrors are kind of scary to me- I don’t like looking at myself in them. A once-over in the morning, a glance later on, that’s about it. I’m definitely not overly fond of my reflection. Sure, go ahead, analyze me all you like. I know I’ve got issues. Plenty of them.

But whether you enjoy your reflection or not, mirrors are important. Who wants to leave the house with their hair a mess or something gross hanging from their nose? Yuk!

The trickier thing, though, is finding a mirror that accurately reflects our inner self. The self we’d prefer that others not know about- full of petty envy or insecurity, anger, lust, greed. Yuck. Sure, there’s good stuff, too: love, kindness, joy, selflessness- these are all gifts from God. Where those are present, they best reflect the image (pun intended) of our perfect Creator.

See, I had an experience this week in which I became acutely aware of some of the accumulated “junk” in my soul. Ugly stuff- anger, selfishness, pride, greed. I could go on. More than disappointing, it was pretty scary. It can be quite painful when God holds up a mirror to our inner self. I didn’t like what I saw. And I wanted God to take a scoop and just sort of grab all of that stuff and remove it from me. Take it away!

Yes, I know that I am forgiven- completely and totally- by Jesus’ death on the cross. I also realize that wallowing in guilt and shame can be counter-productive. I understand that.

But this is why I am personally drawn to the season of Lent this year. It’s a time that’s ready made for some healthy mirror gazing with Jesus. A time to let Him show me my inner life more clearly and do some house-cleaning. I’d invite you to consider this quote from Ruth Barton:

“Oftentimes, the practice of entering into the Lenten season has been reduced to the question: “What are you giving up for Lent?”. This is a fine question but it can only take us so far. The real question of the Lenten season is how will I clear out the junk and garbage in my life so that I can be restored to God in some fresh way? What are the disciplines that will open up space for God to create a clean heart and new spirit in me”

I’ve been sitting with this the past few days, and I’m feeling ready. Kind of nervous, to be honest. But I know that Jesus is my Friend, and He has good in mind. Hold up the mirror, Jesus, to my heart. And together, let’s make more space…for You.

Richard’s Ramblings

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