“What profit is there for one to gain himself but lose or forfeit the whole world?”

Have you ever flipped this saying on its head? It sounds a little different when you do, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to gain, or find, themselves. Anyone who has will tell you that whatever it took to gain themselves was worth it, that this gift of finding and realizing who they are, and owning who they are, is priceless.

And yet at the beginning of Lent, we here the original wording in the day after Ash Wednesday’s readings:
“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” –Luke 9:25

It puts the focus , though negatively, on gaining the world.

In this season of fasting and penance, it seems we lose a lot. We forego many things in order to be able to see more clearly what it is that we do really need, the places that need fixing, the opportunities for (mostly uncomfortable) growth.

And I think many of us find that we have lost ourselves, or at least little bits of ourselves, since the last time that we really took the time to be intentional about our relationship with God, to draw closer to Him.

So maybe during this Lenten season, we should put our focus on gaining back these little bits of ourselves that we’ve lost to the world.

But to turn towards God, we have to turn away from the world. To listen to God, we have to stop listening to every other voice around us. To hold onto God, we have to let go of what we’ve been pursuing for ourselves.

It’s another type of fasting. Fasting from the world to gain ourselves.

“You take my hand; we walk through foreign lands.”

Been anywhere new lately?

No, I don’t mean your last vacation or road trip.  I mean have you been anywhere new in life.

Or has life gotten stale; are you still running into the same life problems, still restless for an unnamed change?

Change that has less to do with what’s around you and more to do with how you feel inside.

I think we all buy the lie that if we change the life around us, maybe start a new job, or get new friends, start a new relationship or try a new exercise routine, that it will make us happier, that it will be the change we’re looking for to catapult us into a better life, one that we’ll like more, one that we’ll like ourselves better in.

So we change what’s around us. –Never giving thought to the idea that maybe what’s inside of us is where we really need to start.

Well, Lent is almost upon us my friends.  It’s a time designated for slowing down to take a deeper look, to search for something new.  40 days to put to death what has been slowly killing us all along, or at least start that process of clearing a space for new life to grow in.

Are you ready to walk somewhere new?

Well, I guess the first question is really:  Are you ready to leave the place that you have been in for so long?

It takes courage to believe that you can step away and leave it behind –for forever, and not just for a little while.  It takes courage to bind yourself to hope, to choose to leave behind the comfort of despair and/or apathy and walk only in the belief that you can do this, that you are only getting stronger by doing this.

So are you ready to take a deeper look?

Don’t worry; you won’t be doing it alone.

God meets us in these places.  In fact, He’s the one who wants to take us somewhere new, make our lives better than what they were before.  He didn’t make us for lackluster, discontented lives.  That’s why He calls us out of the places that we let ourselves sink into.

He is giving us a hand up here if we will take it.

And yeah, He’ll pull us up out of this, but He’ll also keep holding on –a strong hand, secure.  What we need to make sure we keep walking forward.  Because there’s no going back.

Yeah that’s kind of scary isn’t it?  No going back.  Commitment is a big word.  In a commitment-phobe world where jobs and cars and friendships and marriages can be discarded when they don’t seem to fit anymore, nothing is forever.  –or at least there’s no need for “forever” when you can just do what seems good for “right now” however that changes with the moment.

But God is different.  Even if we don’t say “forever” He does.  He IS forever.  (Even if we are faithless, He is faithful for He cannot deny Himself.)

Even if we give up or turn around, He will always be with us.  He cannot be any other way.  He is so in love with us that He would follow us to the ends of the earth.  Nothing we could ever do would be enough to turn His love away from us.  He wants us that much.

He is ready to start the journey through foreign lands with us if we are.

What foreign lands?

You tell me.

Only you can know what the places in your heart are that God has been tugging at.  Only you can know the places of hurt that you still can’t seem to sew up all the way, the desires that have been going unnoticed or neglected, the longings that you can’t seem to explain away.

But the good thing about this ‘no going back’ clause is:  once God starts unraveling the knots that have built up in your heart, you wouldn’t even dream of going back to the old, dead-end way of life that led you nowhere.

So where is God calling you to go with Him?

Yeah, I just brought back some oldschool dcTalk.