I pastored churches several years before I began participating in Ash Wednesday service and the Lenten season.  Once I started having these services, I found them helpful in preparing me for Easter Sunday.  My theological background made me uncomfortable at first.  With my Wesleyan/Arminian upbringing, I hesitated to be confessing my sins during this season and seeking forgiveness.  However, as I began seeking God during this mostly Catholic holiday, I began to find myself searching more inwardly with a sense of becoming more like Christ.  I still believe in being holy and living without sin, but once I began denying myself something during the Lenten season it help me focus on sin and the shortcomings of fallen nature.  Years later I now seek to find things that I can do during lent rather what I give up.  Certainly the objective is to become more holy and less human over the 40 days of lent.  I remember the first time the ashes were applied to my forehead, and the embarrassment I felt, but at that moment the Holy Spirit reminded  me of Christ’s humiliation on the cross for me.  My goal again this year is to grow closer to Christ and let the Holy Spirit to continue to transform me into His image.  I no longer am embarrassed by the ashes on the forehead or my participation in the activities of the season.   Rather, I welcome my involvement in this great event of the Christian year.  I want to be like the one in the temple that humbled himself before God, rather than the one that praised himself for not being like the one that was asking for forgiveness for his sins.   The Bible says that was the man that was justified.