Photo by Mark Hunter
Photo by Mark Hunter

That Lent is a discrete season of the church year is a blessing and a curse.

I am grateful for this time set aside in the rhythm of church life for focused reflection on spiritual matters. In the same way that I need structure and accountability to maintain disciplines like exercise and healthy eating—both of which I struggle with—I love that Lent presents itself to me whether I want it to or not.

But at the same time, since I’m a bit of an all or nothing kind of person, I have the tendency every year to want to cram more into Lent than I could possibly do in six and a half weeks. There are far too many books, posts, and devotions to read. There are far too many spiritual practices I would like to engage. There are far too many things to write. There are far too many good things to incorporate into my daily living.

In part because I overwhelm myself with options, but also because my life is always too busy (because I overwhelm myself with activities), it is so easy for me to lose focus. It won’t be long before my Lenten dedication is overshadowed by any number of distractions.

Maybe that is what the Spirit is calling me to do this Lent: focus on something manageable, perhaps just one simple thing, and stick with it.

John W. Vest

John is a "church hacker" attempting to overcome the limitations of church as we know it. To connect with him and learn more about his work, please visit

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