Even if you're like me, a seasoned or cradle Catholic who has lived many Lents, it's still interesting to contemplate each year what we actually believe and how our everyday actions speak to that faith.
By clearing the way for deeper introspection with fasting and sacrifice, it can be easier to identify these motivations, but it can feel pretty ugly when we reveal them.
Jesus' words in today's Gospel, John 5:31-47, shake me.
Do I seek the words of praise of others over the praise and gaze of the Lord?
I spend a lot of time cultivating the words and good opinion of people around me. If not a complete people pleaser, I do love meeting people's expectations at the very least, preferably exceeding them. I love praise and admiration from others.
And to be honest, it can be less emotionally taxing to get that approval from others than it can be to hear the quiet word of peace from the Lord in prayer. Prayer takes silence, time, and there's usually very little to Instagram afterwards.
Conversely, it can be much easier to be "influenced" by "influencers" on Instagram than it can be to absorb the Word of God every day. I am a consumer of content created to catch my eye but do I spend even that much time every day in quiet reception of God's presence?
Why do I look for satisfaction, acceptance, and happiness from my screen rather than spending time with Jesus Who wants to give me His very heart in relationship?
Lent is the opportunity I need to examine why I make these choices.
Lent allows me to search the desert to see what really motivates me.
And Lent is the time where I can heed the words of Jesus, to believe in Him anew and to begin to choose to act of love for Him instead of what the world so easily supplies.
No matter how your Lent has been going so far, renew your steadfastness today to surrender your heart and entrust it to the Lord.
Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Ten Commandments study found here. You can find out more about her here.