In March of 2018, I cut my hair because I wanted to let dead things go. It has been a year since then and I have been through a lot of things that I did not see coming.
The Season of Lent gives us the opportunity to choose to let some things go in our lives. If you are not familiar with Lent, it is a 40-day period of time before Easter in which Christians can make the decision to fast, or abstain from something, anything. Lent invites a lot of time for self reflection, prayer for God’s guidance and self-discipline. What a person chooses to give up is completely up to them.
The first time I participated in Lent was in the ninth grade. I was not aware of the true purpose of Lent at the time and saw it as something materialistic. Back then I chose to give up rice for 40 days with the intent of losing weight. Giving up rice worked, and I became skinny but losing weight never made me happy the way I thought it would.
An important part of Lent is thinking about what your intentions are and asking yourself “how will sacrificing ____, bring me closer to God?” As I grew older and formed a relationship with God, I came to the realization that Lent is deeper than giving up a certain food, or a certain TV show.
This year I am choosing to let go of a past relationship. I am letting go of a person who had too prominent a place in my life, and even going as far as threatening Jesus’ place right at the centre of my heart. It consumed my thoughts, it dictated my decisions and it tainted how I saw and defined myself. For Lent, I am choosing to let go of my past relationship with the intent to heal and embrace my freedom in Christ. I do not want to hold on to that person, the hurt and negativity. I no longer want to care about how I am seen or thought of.
It has been a couple of weeks into Lent and although at the beginning I was enjoying it and learning a lot, it has become very challenging. I am currently facing a setback that is causing me to doubt God and how much I have grown as a person. My setback has caused me to forget about why I participated in Lent in the first place. Negative thoughts about my past relationship often crosses my mind and I have to constantly remind myself that I am not defined by my past, nor defined by my mistakes. I am defined by who I have become in Christ since then. I am constantly praying to God, asking to feel His presence.
Before writing this, I watched a video of the singer, Tori Kelly. She talked about her testimony and something she said in the video really stuck with me. “[The goal is] to look at my life and be like ‘okay, if all of this went away, would I still be okay with just Jesus and all the things that He offers?” My set back has made me doubt my decision of what I chose to give up for Lent. I started to feel that I was not sure, and not ready to let go of this person and what we had together. Tori Kelly’s words reminded me that Lent is about being able to know who we are in Christ without having what we think we need to live. Although I might feel scared or unready, I was reminded that for years God wanted and has been wanting me to know who I am without that person. Even if it seems as though I have suffered a loss by choosing to let them go, I am actually being blessed with a gain. It puts me at ease knowing that by losing that person from my life, I still will and always have God, and He is more than enough of what I need.
I have been healing for a few years and God recently revealed something to me. Healing and transforming into who God wants you to be is never easy nor is it quick. My progress has been slow, but slow progress is still progress. From my years of journaling I have been able to look back on my three-year healing journey and see how far I have come. A year ago, everyday I was praying for God to bring back my past and to get things back to the way they were. Now, I am not praying for those same things. Everyday I am praying to God to help me heal, move on and embrace the blessing that my life is right now. I am proud of myself for trying to heal through God alone. Through God I have been healing without needing another relationship to act as rug that masks my insecurities, fears and trust issues underneath.
If healing were shown by percentages, I feel as though I am only 30% away from being fully healed. But despite how close we are to our destination, we will always need God’s guidance and God’s help to get us through the finish line. I am proud because through out all of this I have been able to know who Cheryl is. Not Cheryl that had a boyfriend, not Cheryl who had acne, not Cheryl that used to be skinny. Just Cheryl, and who she is in Christ. Although Lent has been challenging, I know that out of the challenge will come beauty.
For everyone that is participating in Lent, I pray that God is bringing you closer to Himself and that through each of the 40 days (and beyond) you are becoming who God wants you to be. God bless!