"There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty. You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction. Lent is about both.
The first such moment gives you energy and joy by connecting you with your ultimate Source and Ground. The second gives you limits and boundaries, and a proper humility, so you keep seeking the Source and Ground and not just your small self."
- Richard Rohr, "Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent"
These two moments, in seemingly opposite directions, are what Lent is about.
Lent, like Advent, and like all of life, is a paradox. It's rife with tension. The tension of realizing our life is all at once full of possibility, and, without Christ, full of depravity. The tension of searching for God, and searching for ourselves.
And so we give up for a while searching for ourselves, and instead search for God... and yet, at the end of the day, we wind up finding ourselves anyway.