Lead article from the February 2017 bulletin, online now.
It's nearly February, and we are in the middle of winter. It's that time of year when the kids are driving us crazy. There is constant sickness in the house. It's dark all the time. The holidays are over so if feels like there is nothing to look forward to. The road conditions can turn a simple errand into a white-knuckle nightmare. In our family this is also a heavy swimming season, so nothing makes you realize how miserable it is outside until you sit in a sweltering pool for three hours then walk directly into negative cold outside. The midwinter blues are setting in hard.
So where is the positive in this whole situation? For me its two things. First of all, have you ever seen a Minnesotan on the first 50 degree day of the year? Nothing makes us appreciate spring more than a rough winter. The same goes for fall after a hot summer. One of the greatest things about living here is fully experiencing all four seasons.
The second positive for me is that this general mood can only mean one thing: Lent is almost here! This is the time of year when all our bad habits we developed throughout the year come into fruition. Whether it be a bad diet, drinking too much, cursing, not praying enough, or whatever your weaknesses are, I'm going to bet for most of us they are probably at their worse right now. But Lent gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button. I love Lent because I see it as a six-week challenge between me and God. It gives me a reason to set goals for myself and stick to them. It's a time when I can reconnect with myself and with my faith. After Ash Wednesday, I cannot keep saying I will start tomorrow. I encourage you to start examining yourself this month and prepare for Lent. Don't wait until the last minute to come up with a resolution. Put some thought into it and prepare yourself for the six-week challenge!