Lately, I’ve been feeling at odds with myself. I was almost ready to move out on my own in February, but I decided to push it back. Why? I don’t think I’m ready to let go of where I am right now. I’ve started anew back home, and I don’t want to be all on my own too soon. I have started a relationship, connected with some friends, and kept busy with my new job. It’s tough to change once again. Or maybe I don’t need to.
Before Jesus began his ministry, he went into the desert for forty days and forty nights, fasting and praying. It prepared him for the challenges of ministry. It provides us for a base upon which we reflect with the season of Lent. Lent is more than just giving up chocolate or whatnot, but a chance to turn back to God. When Easter comes after Lent, it doesn’t mean what was given up is back on, but rather those habits established in Lent take effect. The desert leads into the future ministry of loving and serving God.
For me, I want to go to this “desert” because I want to be closer to God. I want more growth, more time, more dedication, more understanding. I want more friends, more experiences, more of the past that is already gone, more this and that. The desert isn’t more, but less. The point is that asking for more is too much. The desert makes you realize what you already have. The desert makes us understand what really matters.
The other part of the call to the desert is to resist temptation. After Jesus was in the desert, Satan tempted him three times. Satan tempted him with turning stones into bread for Jesus himself to eat. The response is to not depend on bread alone, but to depend on the Word of God. It rids of the selfishness and allows the heart to serve. Satan tempts Jesus to throw himself off the parapet of the temple. Jesus responses by asking Satan to not test the Lord. We are called to not test the Lord with our prayers, but trust that his Will be done. Sometimes the answer is no, and there’s something better in store beyond. Satan tempted Jesus that he would inherit all the kingdoms of the world if He bowed to him. Jesus said that you shall worship God alone. This calls us to fast, and realize the importance of God.
I need a simplification of my wants and focus on my needs. I need to better understand who I depend upon. I need to trust God. Lent is a difficult season, but I need to rid of my selfishness, my greed, and my lack of trust so I can see what I have is enough. I’m not really giving up much this Lent, besides soda, lemonade, and social media via my phone. The latter I will only access on the computer less frequently. I want to be present and simplify my life. The desert is that simplification. The desert leads me to start the future that God calls me to.
The Nerd of May