I went for a run this week in the woods. The subzero weather has abated, and things are beginning to melt. But the path shaded by tall, bare trees remains hidden from sunlight, and still snow-packed. A narrow swath of the path, where people had walked or skied, was hard and icy. The margins were uneven, mushy snow that you sank in like mud.
I tried to run in the softer, wet snow. After just a few slogging steps, I switched strategies, and chose the hard and icy, hoping the treads on my trail shoes would get me through. Each step was uncertain and included a bit of sliding. Not a lot, just enough that I was unsteady, and after three miles, my legs were much more spent than they normally would be.
Sometimes our spiritual practices are kind of like running on a melting but still icy trail. Progress happens, but slowly. It isn’t pretty. It’s uncomfortable. But we press on, fueled by our desire for God.
As we continue on through Lent, what practices are you engaging in? What have you given up, what have you added? How is that going? What are you longing for this Lent?
Maybe Lent is a time to embrace the imperfect. I had a great conversation recently about the practice of Sabbath, and also this idea of longing for God, with my friend Angie Baughman, on her vodcast (yes, that’s a video podcast) Steady On Stronger Together. We talked about my books Rest and GodSpace, and what it means to practice Sabbath.
As the pandemic wears on, Sabbath may seem less relevant. When you’re at home all the time anyway, the days blur together and being intentional about setting a day apart to rest might feel like forging a path through mushy snow.
But in this season, where everyone is home for work, school and maybe a little too much togetherness, don’t we need a day set apart? A day where our attention is turned to something other than our obligations? (Angie, our friend Scarlett and I talked about this and much more on the vodcast so check it out!)
In this relentless season, when trying to make progress feels like running on ice, could Sabbath be a life-giving practice for you? And what does a Sabbath practice look like during a pandemic?
You can both listen and watch our conversation on Angie’s website, Steady On. She’s got a ton of great content including Bible studies, a virtual book club and more. Click here to check it out.
What path are you walking this Lenten season? What practices are sustaining you? What have you let go of in order to make more space for God in this season? Where are you longing for rest?