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Preparing for Lent  //  Turning From and Returning To

17 Feb Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on Preparing for Lent
Preparing for Lent
 

I am not a fan of airports, and not for the reason many of you might think. I actually don’t mind a layover. I don’t even mind a delay. I have come to the place of taking these things in stride. So why don’t I like airports? Because they reveal to me where I am in my relationship with God.

Perhaps I should explain…

air1

My greatest frustrated is with boarding the plane. I seem to always have “Zone 4” on my ticket. That means watching people from Zones 1 through 3 board before me. I find myself counting their carry-ons to make sure they don’t get away with anything… like carrying on 3 pieces instead of the allotted two or too loosely defining the term “personal item.” (No, your Tuba isn’t considered a personal item!). I find myself nervously anticipating that by the time I get to board there won’t be any overhead space available, and that’s not fair.

Or watching people who should have boarded with Zone 1 but were off doing something else, like buying coffee or magazines, push their way to the front of the line waving their ticket in front of those of us who are in the underclass of Zone 4. The shame.

air2

Or, needing to stop my boarding altogether mid-aisle so that the flight attendant can make sure the person in first class doesn’t have to wait one more second to get their complimentary mixed drink. Really?!?

Do you hear it? My petty, whiny frustration… Focusing on things that in the end don’t make a bit of difference… Allowing myself to be consumed by things entirely out of my control. When I begin to allow things like this to unhinge me, I know I am in the midst of a drift.

I see it as an indication of me being at the center of my life rather than Jesus.

As I move into this time of year – into the season of Lent – for me it’s a time for deeper reflection, a time for being more intentional about where I am with God.   Without intention, I can find myself drifting.

  • What things in my life have tempted me to drift?
  • What is God inviting me to embrace in order to be more intentionally focused on Him?

The first step is looking at where I might have turned away from God, perhaps not intentionally but gradually – allowing other things to crowd God out. What have I chosen that is not what God would want for me? What is getting in the way of my relationship with God?   Sometimes I know immediately, what sin or sins I need to confess and turn from. But there are others that I am unaware of. In those moments, I need the light of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the darkness and reveal them to me.

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Psalm 139:23 (MSG)

I encourage you, as you enter this time of year where you consider what Jesus did for you, to take some time to be silent before God and ask Him to gently reveal to you what you must move away from in order to return, with all of your heart, to Him.

No self-condemnation… just an honest assessment.

And then give yourself over to that work – allow the Spirit to work deeply inside you, returning you to the One who first loved you. Then – make your way to an airport and test it out. Just kidding…

May you have a meaningful and rich Lenten season.

Deb Turnow
Executive Director at Kavanna House
Deb Turnow is the Executive Director of Kavanna House, a spiritual formation center in York, Pa. Prior to that role, she was the Director of Spiritual Direction at Living Word Community Church in York. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from York College in Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She is also a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at Shalem Institute. She is currently studying at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a certified spiritual director and also provides supervision for spiritual directors. She and her husband Jeff, live in York, PA.