Have you ever given something up for Lent only to not realize quite why God wanted you to give it up until after Lent started? That happened to me this Lent.
First the call, then the lesson.
I felt called to give up the extras -- e.g. afternoon coffee, wine, extra chocolate, etc. I didn't really know why I felt called to give them up and didn't think they were linked to my Lenten focus. They just felt like extras I didn't need and were frequent enough daily "wants" that they would remind me of sacrificing something for Christ.
But several days into Lent, I realized what God was trying to get me to do through this sacrifice.
I found myself emotionally desolate one day and upset with God about something in my life. In the middle of this grief I didn't want to suffer, I wanted to turn to another cup of coffee to distract myself from the pain that afternoon and soothe the heartache, but because of my Lenten promise, I couldn't do that and found myself coming up empty. I had to turn to Jesus and prayer.
I realized that God called me to give up the little comforts that I was turning to versus Him when life got painful and desert-like -- when the emotional hungers and thirsts of my heart craved something from the world to quench and feed them.
So maybe that's an idea for you to ponder this Lent. What do you turn to before God when life gets painful and when it feels like you're in the desert? Might He be asking you to turn to Him on the Way of the Cross?