This time of year, the question inevitably arises: “What have you given up for Lent?”
As a child, my answer was chocolate. When I stopped eating meat, I’d joke that I would give up vegetarianism for Lent. Later, my ex-fiancé and I abstained from kissing – remembering, of course, that Sundays don’t count!
But growing older, I’ve learned the value in focusing less on what to give up and more on what I choose to embrace.
Last month I turned 40. Forty is a significant number in Scripture. The flood rained down for 40 days, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, and Jesus endured 40 days in the wilderness. Now we journey through 40 days of Lent.
At times I’ve viewed my 40 years of singleness as a cross to be endured. I sometimes focus on what I don’t have as a single woman, rather than the unique blessings of this season of life.
But the single life is not defined as a barren spiritual desert, as simply a holding ground before reaching the promised land of marriage. Rather, it can be a flourishing time of fruitfulness, connection, and community. It certainly was that for Jesus.
A desert is a place with little precipitation. Deserts can look very different – from Antarctica to the Sahara. Likewise, spiritual deserts occur in all states of life, married or single. We singles may be more attuned to our own particular burdens of loneliness or longing. But everyone experiences them.
During seasons of dryness, we can choose to respond with hope. Believing that my best days are ahead, I open myself to God working His perfect plan for my life. Whether I marry someday or remain single, Jehovah Gyra – the God who provides – is Himself more than I’ll ever need.
Reflection question: How can you embrace the fruits of your single state?
Read more Lenten reflections written by CatholicMatch members:
- Day 19 – Michelle-629774: ‘Let Us Fast From Comparisons’
- Day 18 – Darrell-622889: ‘Single Life, Followed By Easter Joy’
- Day 17 – Rosalia-544329: ‘Amazingly, I Feel Saved’
- Day 16 – Sherry-118409: ‘My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?’
- Day 15 – Matthew-695017: ‘Lent Is Not A Dark & Gloomy Time’
- Day 14 – Dawn-58330: ‘I Want To Have Faith Like A Child’
- Day 13 – Dan-595920: ‘I Always Find Excuses’
- Day 12 – Annette-639693: ‘In The Quiet I Hear God’s Voice Clearly’
- Day 11 – Ron-40989: ‘Remember We Are Purifying Our Love’
- Day 10 – Linda-504414: ‘God Might Be Trying To Teach Us Something Vital’
- Day 9 – Andy-246798: ‘I’m Happy To Take A Break From Dating Women’
- Day 8 – Marci-365801: ‘I’m Worried I Have Drifted Off Course’
- Day 7 –Tina-401203: ‘Waiting For Our Lives To Begin’
- Day 6 – Erik-215414: ‘No One Said This Was Going To Be Easy’
- Day 5 – Cate-291547: ‘I Felt Stuck In A Second Adolescence’
- Day 4 – Ryan-672439: ‘God Loves A Good Comeback’
- Day 3 – Theresa-630252: ‘I Think Of This As Preparation Time’
- Day 2 – Barb-505508: ‘We Have To Read Between The Lines’
- Day 1 – Richard-632838: ‘I Recognize How Much I Need God’s Grace’