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As Christians journey through the start of Lent, there is a symmetry with the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert as he prepared for the start of his earthly ministry over 2,000 years ago.

In this time dedicated to grow in relationship with God, he faces temptations from the Devil. All promises that emphasize the needs of this world, Jesus remains faithful to his place and his dependence on God.

When we seek time with God, be it in prayer and in service, we too face temptations. I find that often it is in my effort to pray, or to serve, I first face challenges that keep me from even getting there. Even as a writer, I find that before I set forth this creative journey, I am challenged and at times, distracted.

I don’t necessarily believe this is the work of the Devil, but I do believe we must recognize that we are in and of this world. And it is a world of distractions. Society holds up certain ideals and representations of success. Family, religious, and relational narratives fill our psyche. We have a lot of noise and a lot of history that cloud our core, our soul.

Jesus goes to the desert to be with his father. We are invited to go there too, each and every day. We are called to be with our creator in prayer, to rest there, to find comfort and peace. We must first fill our cup so we can respond to the call to encounter God in the embrace of a loved one as well as in the eyes of the stranger.

We will always face distractions, challenges, and temptations. We must work to get through them by trusting that God is with us in it all, and that God calls on us to be God’s hands, feet, eyes, and heart.

Answer prayers in all that you do. Reflect the love of God in every move you make and in every word you speak. But first, come to know who God is and that you are God’s beloved.