How to ReLent

I wrote to you a few days ago about ReLent, which, OBVIOUSLY, means “to Lent again,” or, in other words, is Lent for those of us who missed it the first time. 

Lent for procrastinators. 

Lent for the wildly busy.

Lent for the forgetful.

Lent for the chronically behind. 

ReLent: It’s like Lent, but with grace for imperfection.

Lent for People Who Need Second Chances.

Sometimes I wish you could spend time in my brain so you could see how substantially you impact me, how much you change me, the ways you encourage me, and why I insist you’re my real life friends even if we’ve never met in the flesh. After all, we’ve met heart-to-heart, and that’s more important anyway. Of course, there are other times I think about Clark, my right armpit skin tag, and then I’m glad you don’t have to spend time in my brain. Really; it’s mostly a win for you.

Still I’ve spent time this week thinking about ReLent after reading your comments and emails, and I have a few things to say to us, heart-to-heart. Friend to friend. 

In that original missive about ReLent, I suggested a path forward, in three steps. 

1. We will take the next 23 days — until the end of April — to celebrate ReLent. Yes, I know Lent is 40 days, but that is LENT. This is RELENT for the wildly busy, and we are not going to string this out. THIS IS OUR GIFT TO US. Twenty-three days. Can we build it? YES, WE CAN.

2. We shall answer three critical questions:

  • What is actually relevant to you and what drives you?
  • What entangles you or distracts you from what’s relevant?
  • What is one entanglement you will release — for 23 days?

3. We will work in concert with Love to refill our souls. I mean – we will really LISTEN to Love loving us, and we will be open to receiving that.

But some of you got stuck on Step 2. 

Which DUH — I should’ve known. Because I forgot to mention that Step 2 is practically impossible and is more a set of questions for, oh, say, A LIFETIME. 

MamaJedi wrote, “What drives me? EVERYTHING! Everything either drives me crazy or drives me to distraction. I have gotten so lost in this that I have no idea what inspires (breathes life) into me.” 

And, man, do I hear that to my toes. 

There have been times in my life when I was so busy sinkingso desperately trying to stay afloat — that questions like “what is actually relevant to you and what drives you” would have been wholly laughable. My answers would have been “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, MAN” or “BREATHING. BREATHING IS RELEVANT TO ME, BUT I DON’T GET TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I AM DROWNING, SO STOP IT WITH YOUR EXISTENTIAL QUESTIONS, LADY.” 

True truth.

Those would’ve been my answers.

And I would have been right to give them.

So I want to make a suggestion for those of you who tripped over Step 2. A stumbling block if I ever saw one. 

REMOVE IT.

I mean, just shove it aside if it doesn’t work for you.

Step 3 is the important step anyway. I mean, Step 2 is good. And I do think those questions are critical — you know, eventually. Someday.

But Step 3?

Step 3 is Where It’s At.

Step 3 is Gold.

Because Step 3 is where we learn to listen to Love loving us. Love, which is God’s other name, you know. 

Step 3 is where we begin to imagine it’s possible to even be lovable.

Step 3 is the place we quiet the constant criticism of ourselves long enough to wait on the Still, Small Voice who whispers that we’re made in the very image of the Divine and that Love and Light long to embrace us.

Step 3 is where the deepest truths I know — that we are not alone in the dark; that dawn is coming and is, in fact, already on its way; that we are, all of us, created to be worthy and treasured — stand a chance of being heard.

So if you have to abandon Step 2 in order to ReLent with us, please do, friends.

Kick Step 2 to the curb.

Do things out of order.

Break the rules.

But don’t let go of Step 3, friends. 

This is how to ReLent: Work in concert with Love. Let Love refill your soul.

Love’s waiting. I swear it. Love is, in fact, already here.

I’m sending you love tonight, too, friends. And waving in the dark.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
8 comments
  1. I am crying, too. It really is hard to love ourselves, isn’t it? Breathing is good, too. It is so good to know that others feel the same. xo

  2. […] It’s NEVER too late to participate in important occasions.  […]

  3. * the strength that comes From feeling loved.

  4. Ten million! Thank yous!!! I loved the idea of ReLenting. Such genius. And i sat down and i forced myself to answer the questions. Which were excellent and soul digging sort of questions, but then i got all entangled in the actual How of getting disentangled. And i stopped back by here to find this. Grace pouring out onto my frizzy worried little head. Thank you! So much.
    Maybe all ReLent needs is a little rearranging. Work out step 3 til your heart bursts open, and you feel the strength that comes feeling loved. Loved in your darkness. Loved in your glory.
    Then step 2 will seem light as a feather. Maybe.
    Let’s try.
    My skin tag is named Joe.
    I adore your Beautiful Brain!
    Bless you, woman

  5. Long time reader, first time commenter. Thank you. Tears are racing and I’m sobbing, like, ugly crying, at this post. How funny that a stranger gets it, and has the exact words to express it! I’m not alone? What? Oh, the relief! Seriously, thank you.

  6. Is it too late to start ReLent? I meant to, but I still haven’t started! My biggest entanglement is neglecting myself. I fuss over giving my kids the best food, keeping them active, and teaching them as best I can (my husband and I homeschool), but I don’t do the same for myself. Thank you for your blog! It helps to keep me going to realize I’m not alone in motherhood!

  7. You have no idea how much I needed to read this. To let Love love me. I had dismissed the whole idea of relent because step 2 was unanswerable,and therefore never got to step 3. My heart was shattered into a million pieces by a pastors verbal and emotional abuse 2 years ago, and I haven’t been the same since. As a result I haven’t let Love love me. And here I am, still laying in bed trying to wake up on a Saturday, with silent tears dripping onto my pillow, because for some unknown reason, your post broke through my wall. So,thank you.

  8. Thank you for this! I read your original post saying, “Yes! This is great! I want to do it too! I can do this!” but when I got to step 2 I just shut down and gave up. Kudos to those who fought through that and let you know about the trouble. 🙂

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