We’re currently in the Christian season of Lent, a time to put other distractions aside and take stock of our own humanity and spirituality. It’s fair to say that this is a Lent unlike any other we’ve seen. We may be very drained and unable to engage with God as we have before. This is totally normal, considering all we have been through due to the pandemic.
Our spirituality always starts with where we are, though, rather than where we want to be. This phrase is worthy of 40 days of thought in itself. God can meet us in the places we don’t want to be in, too. In the Old Testament, Elijah had fled for his life, eventually seeking shelter under the broom tree. In desperation he prayed that he would die. He was mentally and physically exhausted. However, God sent an angel who gave him food and allowed him to sleep. Food and sleep – these don’t seem like particularly ‘spiritual’ things, and yet they were God’s responses to Elijah.
This Lent, perhaps we need to recognise we are not who or where we would like to be. We are just as we are. This is always hard for us to admit, although God knows this. It may be that this Lent needs to be about different things for us. Perhaps we need to take care of our physical bodies more – to eat better and sleep more – since our spirituality and our physicality can never be separated. That’s ok, too.
It doesn’t matter if your old ways of connecting with God aren’t working. Don’t waste time feeling guilty. Rather, just find something which brings you life. Wherever you are, there God will be. As the psalmist wrote, “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.” (Psalm 139)
May your Lent be authentic and may you find God wherever you are.