For those in the Christian faith, yesterday marked the beginning of Lent. This season of denying oneself and drawing near to God presents a wonderful opportunity to recalibrate and focus on what is truly important.
So much of life happens without any conscious decision on our parts. Our personalities and character develop as a result of repeated habits and reflexive behaviors. Who we are seems more circumstantial than aspirational. From time to time we may try to make changes - tweaking around the edges - but sooner or later, left to our own devices, old patterns creep back in and we end up right back where we started.
How refreshing, then, is a season that invites us to look not inward in a feeble attempt to fix our flaws but instead calls us to look upward and outward. Lent is not simply a superficial sacrifice of luxuries, but a practice of creating space to see the needs around us and become the hands and feet of God.
Whether or not you observe Lent, I encourage you to experiment with turning your focus away from yourself and opening up to a greater awareness of your surroundings. You might be surprised by what you discover - and who you become in the process...