I am both ready and not ready for Lent. I can't wait, and I'm dreading it.
Part of my problem is that I have something specific that I want from Lent. I want to be challenged just enough, but not too much. I want to come out with my mind clear and focused. I want to be less attached to certain things and more attached to God. I want to truly soak in the solemnity and quiet of Lent without all the extra noise, and then have the joy of Easter burst out in glorious contrast.
The thing is, it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes instead of soaking in what Lent is, I am distracted by anything and everything around me. Sometimes I try and try to feel Lent the way it should be felt, and I don't feel a thing. Sometimes I want to grow closer to God, and nothing happens. Sometimes my sacrifices lead me to become more attached to something else other than God. Sometimes it's my fault and I can see why and how it happened. Other times, it just is. Life is like that.
I have to give up something food related. I do. I know that sometimes (like everyone else) my motives aren't perfect. But even with my imperfect motives, I think God does something amazing with any kind of austerity in what we think are our most basic needs. I think there are good reasons not to fast from food (like if you already have an unhealthy relationship with food, or you already have few options on what to eat). But in my case, though I have some mixed motives, I love what a little physical hunger can do to remind me of what is even more important to me than food.
Let's just pretend that that last paragraph is not a grammatical disaster, okay? Great.
I also think that I will find some ways to be more quiet this Lent. I need to do that. I'm still praying about the specifics, but I think that it needs to happen. I think that if I want to find God, I am more likely to find Him in the silence. Not complete silence, but more silence.
In the end, it's not about whether I feel appropriately solemn and then appropriately joyful. Nor is it about whether I feel any closer to God or not. It's about being there, living the 40 days in the desert with Jesus, whether it feels good, bad, or indifferent. Anything else is just a bonus.