RUTH HALEY BARTON: MORE FINELY ATTUNED
“‘Yet even now, says the Lord, repent and return to me with all your heart.’ (Joel 2:12)
“The real question of the Lenten season is: How will I repent and return to God with all my heart? This begs an even deeper question: Where in my life have I gotten away from God and what are the disciplines that will enable me to find my way back?
“How many and how subtle are the ways we ‘leave’ God and the true spiritual journey in favor of other pursuits— even those that seem very noble and even necessary. The cares and concerns of life in this world and even the dreams and visions that God has given us can become distractions from the relationship itself… Returning to God with all our hearts begins with repentance…
“Lenten disciplines help us to abstain from the daily distractions that prevent us from seeing and naming reality correctly. As we allow some of the external trappings of our lives to be stripped away, we can return to a truer sense of ourselves and a deeper pursuit of God. We acknowledge the subtle temptations to which we are prone rather than pretending that we are beyond temptation.”
Hopefully, what is happening to each of us this Lent is that we are returning to God with all of our hearts. This process helps us attune both to God and to the things that distract us from God, whether they are good things or bad things. To remain with Him, let’s take some time today to make a list of things that distract us from God.
Father, forgive us. We are brokenhearted for pursuing these other things and missing you in the process. Direct our route back to you, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Do this we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Gary G. Hoag
To read more from Lent Companion by Gary G. Hoag, please visit https://www.gtp.org/resources/ebooks/lent-companion