We joined a new gym this week. The gym offers an introductory assessment, during which a trainer identifies the areas that need attention (sigh) and designs a work-out plan to address those areas. I have a lot of work to do. As I confronted my multiple areas of weakness, I silently gave thanks that Lent is a season of strength.

Traditionally, we are called to use Lent for self-assessment, to identify why our souls are flabby, our hearts are broken, and the muscles of our spirits have atrophied from lack of use. It can be a difficult and even painful accounting, because it requires being honest with ourselves and with God. We can find it tempting to spend Lent just dwelling on our weakness and feeling sorry for ourselves because we have stumbled and fallen or, perhaps even more dangerously, grown still.

But rather than giving into our weakness, let us embrace God's strength. He offers to stand beside us, to spot us we do the heavy lifting required to cleanse our lives of the sin, regret , and anger that weighs us down. He infuses us with His power, so we do not have to rely on our own strength. Most importantly, He removes the burdens we cannot lift on our own . He reminds us it is a sign of strength, not of weakness, to confess to Him that we are not able to do any of this without Him.

Lent reminds us we can grow stronger in faith if we are willing to exercise our hearts, minds, and souls. The best exercise comes not from carrying around our sorrows and sins, but from reaching out to others in reconciliation, jumping up and down in joy, and kneeling in thanks.

Let us love Lent for its lessons of strength. Let us draw on the power of the Lord and share it with others, so that we may all grow in strength, for His service and to His glory.

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake , I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:8-10