Routine, Challenge, and a Prayer for Lent

During my late twenties and early thirties, I worked at a gym. It was a fantastic job for me, particularly at that time in my life. My kids were small and leaving them with my husband a few times a week so I could have grown up conversation and make a little money was a nice break.

I worked a set schedule every week, so it didn’t take long to learn the routines of our members. On Monday mornings, I knew the arrogant swim coach would be standing at the door waiting for me to open the club. On Wednesday evenings, after 6 o’clock, the effervescent sleep doctor would smile his way in, all kindness and gratitude. On Fridays, the basketball boys would come in, as would the woman who always read a new library book on the recumbent bike for exactly 30 minutes.

Humans are creatures of habit. I learned this in motherhood, first and foremost, but seven years working at a gym reinforced this lesson all the more.

But as much as we humans like our routines, we also like a challenge. The annual challenge the gym hosted was more popular than the first two weeks of January, when resolution makers would pour in, pump iron in quantities beyond their capabilities, and then fizzle out. Why? Because the challenge was well-defined, short term, and with a little extra effort, it was achievable. Do the specified activity for a set number of days and you win the right to say you did the specified activity for a set number of days.

Routine is good for us. Challenges are good for us.

The season of Lent blends both, giving our souls 40 days to reset. We may slow down our faith routines or change them, or we may challenge ourselves to go without something so we can stretch our understanding of who God is and how to trust Him more. Lent is a challenge with more benefit than bragging rights. Because when I reflect on the love of Christ’s sacrifice and the hope of His resurrection, one thing becomes perfectly clear: the gospel is indeed Good News. I can’t sit still on it and do nothing. I have to respond with faith that moves, trusts, and shares. Always a challenge.

That’s where I’m at this season. I’m not wildly disobedient and I’m guessing you aren’t either, but sometimes my faith is tepid. Hesitant. I sit still too long, get stuck reflecting rather than moving. When I’m challenged to trust and take action, I want to accept that challenge every single time. So this is my prayer for Lent 2021:

“Lord, remind me You are enough. Remind me all You provide is enough. And remind me I am enough for the purposes You have planned for me.”

During Lent, we’ll take a look at the reasons why we sit still, the challenges that prevent our faith from moving, and ways to overcome these obstacles so we can live like we believe Christ’s love and salvation really are as extravagant as we say they are.

What routine or challenge have you committed to for Lent this year? Share it in the comments. And as always, One More Truth is for everyone, so if a post resonates, share it freely!

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  1. My Lent discipline this year is really 365 days, as I have committed to reading through the Bible in 2021 with the Bible Recap app. A new routine is listening to it on the YouVersion app as I follow along in my Bible. I think it is making me more committed as I feel I am not doing it alone. I am presently finishing the Old Testament book of Leviticus. God aligned the timing so I read the chapter on the Day of Atonement on Ash Wednesday! I have learned to appreciate that tough book more than ever this time around.
    I’m looking forward to your future posts to keep me searching always and not just fulfilling a task. Thanks for your insights, Michelle!

    1. I love that discipline and your commitment to it! I’ve got a few highlights in Leviticus. Kind of a surprising book to make an impact, but it has. It’s a book of order and design – elements of beauty when we step back. Thanks for reading and for searching with me!

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