Photo by Unsplash.
Photo by Unsplash.

The season of Lent can be a tough one for many people, especially for those of us who struggle with mental health issues. 

This season of repentance can also be a season of very low energy, coming as it does at the tail end of winter. But, if we put our focus on the positive aspects of these 40 days, it can give us a new way to look at Lent.

Here are some things to remember when this season becomes a challenge:

Forgiveness: We are loved by a God who forgives us for our shortcomings and asks that we also forgive ourselves. … Lent is a good time to focus on positive self-talk (the way we talk to ourselves inside our heads) and to let go of some of the thoughts that weigh us down. By giving them up to God, we let Him be the one to deal with them.

Chosen: We are a chosen people. Just like the disciples and apostles who came before us, Jesus has chosen each of us to follow Him. … Lent is a good time to focus on God’s call to be in relationship with Him and to grow closer to Him. We also can look at the things in our lives that stop our relationship with God from growing.

Mercy: We believe in a merciful God, a God who does not want us to dwell in pain. …During Lent, we can focus on God during those moments of pain, struggle, self-doubt or unworthiness.

Lent isn’t necessarily about giving up things in the traditional sense. It is about opening ourselves up, giving up some of the internal things that create a barrier between us and God, and letting go of the things that block our relationship with God. Ultimately, whatever each of us choses to do is meant to help us grow closer to a merciful and loving God who has called us each by name and wants nothing more than to be in relationship with us.

Grace Fay is a youth minister at Our Lady of Grace Church, Ballston Lake, and St. Joseph Church, Scotia, and chairperson of the Diocesan Mental Health Committee.