It's a long, hard road that leads to becoming our true selves. There are so many things to distract us along the way, things that draw us towards self-absorption and destructive behavior.

The next few moments of reflection offer the opportunity to focus again, to see more clearly who God is and who we truly are meant to be.

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The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

Genesis 2:15–17

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The season of Lent is about so much more than guilt, struggle, and hardship, because it is also a season of celebration in which we rejoice and marvel at the gift of freedom God has given us. But freedom is a tricky thing, and we humans have a way of distorting the expansive nature of God’s grace-filled freedom, honing in instead on the limitations and constraints. When God said you may eat freely of any tree in the entire garden except for one, it was the one that grabbed our attention.

As you continue your trek through the wilderness, pay attention to the expansive freedom God has given you to explore the heights of joy in loving relationships, the depths of grief and of brokenness, and the breadth of love and awe. Pay attention to the earth that God asked us to till and protect, and give thanks to God for showering you and surrounding you with God’s limitless love.

Grier Booker Richards

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Help me, O God, to avoid distraction and pay attention to where you need me to be. Convert and consecrate my heart that I might see myself through your eyes and my life as a part of your plan.

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Go now with faith into your struggle.

Avoid distractions of the spectacular;
See beyond the illusions,
And recognize you have what you need
To move beyond guilt to freedom.

You have been claimed by grace
And are called to celebrate the life of joy.

Grier Booker Richards

Grier Booker Richards serves as executive director and chaplain for UKirk Ministries of Greensboro in Greensboro, North Carolina. Grier is proud to be a Tar Heel and enjoys running, cooking, watching ESPN, and exploring the great outdoors with her husband, Rich, and son, Olsen.

Reflections on the Way: O Rest in the Lord - All Through the Night

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