Wilderness [1Word5Voices]

wildernessThe word I most associate with the season of Lent is wilderness.

The Hebrews wandering in the wilderness

Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness

Both wilderness experiences are intense times of trial and hardship. I imagine the wilderness places in these passages and the pictures painted are stark. Wilderness is untamed, uninhabitable, unfriendly, unlikely to be a great place to hang out.

But Lent invites me into the wilderness, to embrace the struggle, to wrestle with whatever I need to wrestle with.

The wilderness may be a place, but it is more likely a space in my thinking, a break from the routine and the normal.

Wilderness is that which is beyond me and my comforts. Wilderness is the unexplored land. Wilderness is the danger and the hardship and the difficult.

Wilderness is also where formation seems to get fast-tracked. Strip away the noise and the bother and what you’re left with is you. Naked and screaming and raw and real.

There aren’t any clowns or performers or pretenders in the wilderness. Wilderness time is time spent with your truest, base self.

Perhaps that why most of us, including me, generally skirt the edges of wilderness in our lives. It’s not safe out there. Things happen. People die.

But that too is the invitation of Lent.

To enter wilderness and die to self, to let the selfishness and the pride and the arrogance fall away. To be laid bare and stripped clean. To discover what is at your core.

So beware Lenten traveler, those who truly enter the wilderness do not come back unchanged.

At least that’s what I’m praying for.

Life is better together,

Check out what a few of my friends taking this journey with me think of this word…

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