Oh, we have such high expectations for ourselves for Lent! Then they come tumbling down so quickly. Lent is only three days old, and I’ve already forgotten to avoid complaining several times. Are you fairing as badly?
If you weren’t following me last year, you probably haven’t read this post on not giving up when you fail. I wrote it during last Lent. I was working on trust then. This post, along with a few others, led me to begin writing Trusting God with St. Therese. I rewrote it as a section of the book.
God does not want us to despair, no matter how often we fail. Our righteousness comes from Him, not from our strength. Trust Him with your Lent, whether you are finding it difficult or easy to be faithful.
How is your Lent going? Did you accidentally eat meat today? Did you give in and eat chocolate, drink coffee, or indulge in whatever else you promised to give up? Have you missed your prayer time, slept through daily Mass, or skipped your spiritual reading?
Don’t despair. This could still be your best Lent yet.
Lent is not all about you
If you focus on yourself and your own agenda, you will likely fall. In fact, God might put a few stumbling blocks in your way for your own good. Perhaps His plan for this Lent is different from yours. If you keep failing to do what you promised, take some time to ask God what He wants this Lent to be all about.
But what if you prayerfully considered your sacrifices and good works, were convinced that you chose what God wanted, and still keep messing up?
Be at peace. You haven’t failed.
God is bigger than your sins and failings
As regular readers of my blog know, I am working on trusting God more. (If you’re not following me yet, please use the tools at the top of the right sidebar to sign up. Thanks!) So far, this has been one of my best Lents in years. I feel like I can’t fail. You see, I have a tendency towards anger, frustration, and self-pity. For Lent, I am trusting that everything that happens during the day is part of God’s plan for my life. I am striving to accept everything peacefully. Sometimes I forget, and my habit of anger kicks in. Then I need to repent.
But here’s the interesting part. I started this year trying to trust God radically when I sin. I have practiced being peaceful when I fail. I no longer beat myself up. I’m no longer tempted to despair. I lay my sin at Jesus’s feet, ask for forgiveness and a quick kiss, and move on.
So if I fail to trust God originally, I always have a second chance. I can grow in trust, no matter what.
Unless I give up.
Your shortcomings don’t surprise Him
God knows your weaknesses better than you do. He also knows how sincere you are. As long as you are trying, He doesn’t see you as a failure. He sees you as a potential saint. And in order to become that saint, you have to trust Him. Ultimately, He is in charge of your spiritual life, not you. Your perfect practice of penance this Lent can’t earn you union with God. That’s a gift. And He will give it to you in His own time.
Unless you give up.
Share with us: How has God surprised you this Lent? How can we pray for your spiritual growth right now?