Lent is looming around the corner and I am not ready. I told God I wasn’t ready to give up anything more in my life. 2021 was the worst year of my life, and this year so far has been a rough start to say the very least.
Driving to work, I asked God what it is that He wanted me to give up. I can’t lie, I prayed that prayer half-heartedly. I also simultaneously prayed Lord, don’t make it that hard this year.
His answer to me was immediate and clear, your ego.
I was instantaneously horrified and offended. I do not see myself as someone who has an ego. I took offense.
What do you mean Lord?
As I sat with it over a period of days, then a week, I began to have an opening, an understanding of what ego really meant. God was not telling me I was an egotistical maniac or that I was brash. God was telling me that I wasn’t Him.
You see, I am a control freak. I want to control everything. Just yesterday my very good friend reminded me of this.
The Lord has placed you in a situation where you have no control, she said.
That was all I needed to hear. I was indeed in a foreign land. I was working in a new place, have many new friends, and attend a new church. The Lord has been good to me.
But every day all I think about is my past. The unanswered questions. The people and places and spaces that I have no control over. The injustice I feel, the heartache.
I have spent the better part of 2022 scheming on how I was going to fix things, bring justice, take over God’s job. I begged God, cried out to God to help me. But what I was really doing was trying to control God- telling Him that He had to be on my timetable, coming up with my own plan. And I was desperately trying to write the end of this story as a good writer would.
Ego is the control we try to exert over God. The prayers that we lord over him to fix things and do it now. The endings we try to write to replace our last chapter for His.
And this is why He told me to give up my ego for Lent.
Because giving up my ego is giving up control.
The plan for this Lent is to give back to God what is His. Offer it up each day of Lent on the altar of grace- the things within my day that I can’t control, the people who have ill intentions. The events that swirl around me that I did not create. I’m giving it all back to Him. It’s His anyway.
And I hope you will do the same. Consider giving up your own ego instead of caffeine this Lent or whatever other thing you are considering. Giving up coffee is great but giving up yourself is greater. Give back to God what belongs to Him.