One of the traditions of the Twelve-Step Program in Alcoholics Anonymous is to take a “fearless moral inventory” of your life. I think this is something everyone should do on a regular basis, and Lent is the perfect time to do so.
What does it mean, exactly, to take this “fearless moral inventory?” I suggest setting aside 20 minutes each morning or last thing at night to really spend some time with yourself, looking at who you are and what you want to change about yourself. Some things might be obvious. For instance, I have an ongoing challenge to be patient. I don’t have to look very deeply into myself to know that I am not a patient person with others or with myself. I know this is something I need to work on changing.
You may have something obvious like this in your life. Maybe you are quick to anger, or maybe you overspend your budget on a regular basis (or don’t have a budget!), or maybe you eat for comfort. You get the idea. Lent is an excellent time to really take stock of those areas of your life that need to be addressed.
But maybe some of the work you need to do lies underneath the obvious. Maybe impatience and irritability are symptoms of an underlying medical or psychological issue that should be addressed. Maybe the overspending or overeating are things you do to seek comfort because of a broken relationship or a poor self-image. Maybe the procrastination about cleaning out your closet is grounded in financial insecurity, selfishness or fear. Lent is the time when we look deeply and honestly at ourselves and identify those areas where we know there is work left undone.
A “fearless moral inventory” is when we really look at who we are and ask ourselves if we are the people that God created us to be. God created us to love ourselves, to love each other and to love God. What in your life is standing in the way of this love?
Teresa Angle-Young is providing articles about the Christian season of Lent and ways we all can join in the practice of Lent. She is a pastor who is simply seeking God, loving neighbors, and trying to follow Jesus.