Lent Begins with Listening to Where God is Leading...

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and today we enter fully into Lent. This year I am joining Christine Sine and many others in going through this Lenten Guide. Over the past few months I have been really excited about this. Bryan and I have been talking a lot about really entering into Lent and about using it as a time to cleanse our bodies, our lives and our hearts. We had been talking about some pretty extreme disciplines we wanted to try and engage in – including going Vegan for Lent. But, as Lent drew closer we started to hear a different message from God…

We started to hear God asking us to be present with where we are – to not try and make things happen – to accept that we can do nothing on our own and in our own strength and to open our hands and hearts to where he wants to lead us and the place in life that he has given us right now.

Over the past little bit I have been thinking a lot about this verse from John 15: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

The question, “What does it mean to remain in Christ?” has been circling in my head a lot lately. I can’t say that I’ve figured it out – I haven’t. But, I think that one part of it is to rest in trust and allow him to work instead of trying to force things myself. I realize that I do a lot in my own strength and power. I like being in control. I don’t like trusting others, and I especially don’t like trusting God. But, that’s exactly what I feel like He’s calling me to right now. He keeps reminding me that apart from him I can do nothing.

In the past few months God has slowly taken away a lot of security from my husband and I. He has slowly lead us to a place in various areas of our lives where we’ve had to trust him, and wait on him and where we haven’t been able to just do things in our own strength or timing. But, there were still things I was holding on to, I still felt like there were things that I could bring and offer and do. But, the past few weeks something has happened that I have no control over that I can’t do at all. And it’s made that phrase “apart from me you can do nothing” sink in for me in a new way. In this situation I can’t make anything happen, I can’t control the outcome, but there are small things that I can do to help create a fertile environment for God to work and I think it’s given me a picture of how God wants to work with me in other areas of my life. He wants me to stop grasping for the outcomes that I want, stop trying to control things and instead just remain with him, dwell with him and in doing so create a fertile environment for him to move and work and lead me on this journey.

The call of Lent for me this year is a call to let go, to stop striving, to trust and lean back into God’s open arms with reckless abandon. It is a call to remain in him and dwell intimately with him. It is a call to let go of my nagging doubt and distrust and to fall fully into Christ. It is a call to stop striving and fully recognize that it is only in Him that I move and breathe and have my being and apart from him I can do nothing.

That is what I feel God is calling me to this Lent. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like, but I want to follow.

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman