Sorting it Out
a Lenten toolbox for adjusting your focus and supporting your soul


“What am I going to give up for Lent?” This question has become a somewhat distorted encapsulation of a Christian season that really has incredible spiritual potency. Lent is popularly thought of as a time of self-sacrifice and confession of sin. Unfortunately, this view confines Lent in too narrow a box. We either end up avoiding Lent altogether because we want to spare ourselves the degradation of feeling guilt and shame, or we modestly acknowledge the season by giving up chocolate or meat or entertainment. We do ourselves and God a disservice when we limit our concept of Lent to merely confessing offenses against a holy God, or trying to make some show of remorse by denying ourselves some kind or food or drink for 40 days.

Life comes at us at times with the ferocity of a lion striking its prey, and sometimes as layers of cumulative chaos that leave us feeling tangled and twisted. Our response is often as conflicted as our feelings. We begin with healthy intentions, but can find ourselves slaves to our emotions and over-active desires. After weeks, months, and even years, we realize we need to get ‘sorted out.’ We need to untangle the knots inside ourselves so we can see and feel ourselves as clear and pure and settled.

Rather than viewing Lent as a season of drab and dreary self-examination and sacrifice that waters down its spiritual potency, we might see it as a time offered to us each year simply to sort things out. It can be an intentional period of 40 days that can be used to realign the disorder in our life that keep us out of balance with our own soul and with the God who loves us boundlessly, unconditionally, and eternally. Using Lent to take an honest look at the disarray inside ourselves with an eye to discarding the debris leaves us renewed, with eagerness, enthusiasm, gratitude, and a readiness to offer ourselves to God and to the world.