Each one of us have our own “religion,” our own “faith.”
For some of us it might be our job, a sports team, an addiction, a TV show, our self image, or a political party. Whatever it may be, we all cling to it. We provide space for it to take over and influence our life. Like zealots, we show up for each of its obligations, we tithe our time, and bow to its call.
Without batting an eye, we easily agree to stay after hours in hopes that the God of Business will grant me that special bonus for my indulgence.
Regardless of the season, we can hallow an afternoon or evening to genuflect below the lights of the arena and chant to the God of Entertainment.
When our fundamentalism is confronted with truths or new perspectives, we hide behind a vail of ignorant confidence to maintain our cultish belief in the God of Tribalism.
Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Annually. Whatever our God may be in, we each cling to it with steadfast faith. Seeping into our essence these faiths become intwined with our spirit and we loose sight of our true self.
In the Gospel account of Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert, the Devil’s temping of Jesus two centuries ago is the same tempting of Power, Wealth, and Prestige we face each day.
We crave recognition, attention, on obtaining everything, because we are simply not satisfied with who we are.
We crave pleasuring our senses to numb out the sensation of truly knowing ourselves, because we don’t know if we’ll like the person inside.
We cut people down because it is easier to make other people look small than to accept our whole selves — flaws and all.
Eventually there becomes a time when we need to lose our religion and stand true to our own identity. Lent gives us that time to be more mindful and aware of our internal temptations. Whether it is giving something up or tacking something on, Lent grants us a conditional framework to become more mindful.
Our wound, our self-doubts, our false faiths force us into being less than the person we ought to be. We bow before the alters of our false selves because we fear standing in the truth of our limitations.
This Lent I am asking myself, “What are my limitations?”
When I reach for that thing I said I wouldn’t … Why is it that I struggle to let go?
When I neglect to do that thing I committed to … What is it within me that won’t allow me to follow through?
When I stare at my reflection in the mirror … When will I fully accept myself for who I am?
When I look towards heaven … When will I accept that the Divine is as close as the person next to me? … As close as within myself?
This Lent I hope to step foot into the desert of my own soul and recognize my faults and weakness. To recognize my false faiths I’ve tithed to with over consumption and over devotions with my obsession with power. To look at them not as Gods, but as the devils they truly embody. But these devils are not some outside force, I must recognize in their true light.
This Lent I must stand in the desert of my own soul and recognize the den of hell I have created in my own life and cast it out.