I’m writing this blog on February 14th the traditional observance of Valentine’s Day. It’s also Ash Wednesday, the traditional beginning of Lent. Here’s why this collision of holidays is a good thing.
On Valentine’s Day we’re inundated with candy, roses, and hearts. Hearts, hearts, and more hearts. You remember those “conversation hearts” candies, right? Little cute sayings like, “Be Mine, Sweetheart, Love You,” and so on. Heart-shaped cards, heart-shaped food, heart-shaped dishes, and heart-shaped everything.
But Lent is also about the heart. Not that pretend one with cupid’s arrow in it, but the heart that is the center of you. Some might say that Lent is just about remembering Jesus’ suffering. But dig deeper. WHY did he suffer? Why did he go to the cross? It was so you could have a new heart. He even said that our hearts are the fountain of evil that consumes us. (Matthew 15:19) Only with a new heart can we love well. That includes loving God, loving others, and even loving our selves appropriately.
So as we embark on the journey of Lent I would encourage you to think about your heart. Where is it bent out of shape? Where does it need to be renewed? Then consider abstaining from something, or adopting a habit or practice for the next six weeks until Easter. If you’d like some suggestions, I’ve written about this here, here, and here.
Feel free to share your Lent decisions in the comment section below. Or not. But know that the condition of your heart matters deeply to your heavenly father. On Valentine’s Day, and every day.
P.S. One of my Lent practices this year is to select one person each day and have focused prayer for them throughout that day. That includes listening to what God has to say about that person. I’m open to suggestions.
P.P.S. If you’d like to engage in a Lent-focused Bible reading plan, this one is really good.