(Monday, February 28th)
My usual spiritual practices during Lent are efforts to mature as Jesus’s disciple through obedience and discipline, stretching myself in sacrifice and service. But as this Lenten season nears, the ongoing troubles in our world have brought on a melancholy weariness along with a lack of inspiration, and I feel my soul wincing at the thought of any increased effort or discipline. I long to simply sit with Jesus and listen to what he has to say, to have him as my mentor and friend. Do you feel the same?
Perhaps this is as it should be. The reason for any spiritual practice should be to draw close to Jesus; he wants to deepen in relationship with us. In a recent podcast, Emily P. Freeman describes this purpose, quoting a few words from Mike Cosper in his book, Recapturing the Wonder:
“Any approach to the Christian life that seeks self-improvement as the end goal will fail. A life of prayer, fasting and spiritual disciplines can easily be a life of empty religious effort if the goal isn’t communion with God. We don’t need self-improvement. We need to come home.”1
This Lent, I will use each reflective writing time as a mentoring moment with Jesus. I want to listen to his stories and absorb his wisdom, to hear his sage teachings as well as his shared struggles. I want to come to Jesus for encouragement and comfort, for words of blessing and hope, from a mentor who cares and loves me. I hope that this season will help me draw closer to Jesus, feel his love, and settle in his embrace.
In a way, I will also be “giving up” something for Lent. I will be giving up my need to achieve a sacrificial discipline or to pursue my sanctification. Instead, I will let go of my usual Lenten pursuits in order to lean in, listen, and love. And maybe… becoming more like Christ will be the natural outcome of absorbing more of his presence.
I hope you will join me for these weekday Mentoring Moments with Jesus. We will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd, and continue each weekday through Lent. We will embrace his comfort (Monday), hear a story (Tuesday), listen to his instruction (Wednesday), share his struggle (Thursday), and receive his blessing (Friday) and then sit quietly to consider his words and feel his presence. My own short reflection will follow.
Plan to grab a cup of your favorite beverage, put your feet up, and spend some time with Jesus, our mentor and our friend.
See you on Wednesday!
1Emily P. Freeman in her “The Next Right Thing” podcast, February 1st, Episode 211, The Daily Examen.