Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stop, The Lent You Save May Be Your Own

Just in case you are a new reader, check out my 2008 thoughts on Lent.

Apparently in 2009, I didn't give Lent any thought. Well, I'm sure I did. I just didn't write about it.

Lent is one of those seasons where I get really cheeky and opinionated about walking with Christ. But, before I go there, let me share a little of Zane's theology with you regarding God's omnipresence.

"So if God really needs to be somewhere in a hurry, he is actually already there."

And his thoughts on Heaven after I told him there would be a terrific feast.

"I don't think they use glass up in Heaven. They serve everything in baskets."

That's very biblical-sounding. Don't you think?

Ok, and now, Lent.

You can reread my post from 2008 to get my thoughts on Lent. I hesitated to re post because I don't want to be misunderstood. Only you and your Maker know what sacrifices need to be made in your life to draw you into a deeper relationship with Jesus. My opinions certainly can't get between whatever God is calling you to set aside for 40 days. He trumps me.

For myself, I know without a doubt that if I were to give up coffee, chocolate, buffalo wings, or popcorn with olive oil and Parmesan cheese for 40 days, I would turn around and reclaim them as soon as I could say "Happy Easter!" And that may be fine for some. I want more. I want Lent to change a habitual way of thinking. I want to make a sacrifice which completely overturns the type of thinking that settles for the excuse of "well, that's just the way I am". I want to set aside something that causes my way of relating to God and others to become revolutionary.

I want my Lenten sacrifice to be something for which I must absolutely yield to the power of the Holy Spirit in order to experience growth and change in my life.

So, this year, I am relying on God's Word and His very breath that gives me life to refrain from . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . COMPLAINING.

2009 was a chock-full of complaints. As I look back on that year, I see hands-down the toughest year of our married life. With 2008 taking a close second. You can go back and read 2008. If you dare.

2010? It's looking pretty good thus far. So why taint it by complaining that upon needing a shower after a super hard workout this morning, the mechanism that sends the water from the faucet up to the actual shower head broke and I had to bathe under the faucet by squatting down on really fatigued legs? As if I hadn't done a ton of squats already?! No worries. I had clean water in which to bathe and while I may be a bit crampy, I'm fresh as a daisy.

Why "pull a 2009" by expressing my frustration over getting a migraine at the same time that I am having a very difficult talk with a woman needing help? My head hurt like the Dickens, but it only caused me to focus on her more and internally pray that God would place the words in my mouth because I couldn't see straight.

Why, on only the second day that I've announced that I will attempt to refrain from complaining for 40 days, does Harper have an incredibly difficult packet of math homework to complete?

Are any of these surprises?


Did God cause them so that he could check me on this non-complaining quest of mine?


This is just the stuff of life. However, my response to today has been very different. I feel like I'm getting a supernatural ability to forge onward. Moving forward by showering on my knees, pressing on through the pain in my skull, and phoning a friend for a visual aid that will help Harper with her assignment. No crabbin'. No grubblin'. No moanin'.

But rather, praying.

Philippians 2:14 says to do all things without complaining or arguing. So I'm going to give that a try. And at the risk of sounding uppity or judgemental, let me offer up a word to the wise: It's just not fun to be around those who complain about everything. Just as I will remain accountable to you for watching what kind of stream flows from my mouth, how about helping me by doing the same? Let's stick to pure water.

And while Lent has already begun, and you may have already committed to "giving something up", take a time of silence and solitude to see just what the Lord is asking of you for these next 40 days if you haven't already. The sacrifice is yours and yours alone, so don't feel as if you need to give up something that you see the masses ditching for this season. You don't have to follow the "I'm off chocolate" crowd. Lent should be your own.

Embrace challenge.

Expect change.

Experience Lent.


karen said...

How funny...I was actually thinking of giving up complaining for Lent as well. I find myself even complaining about things that don't the weather. Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow address this beautifully.

My personal Lenten philosophy is that you don't even have to fast FROM can fast TO something as well (see Isaiah, where God commands a fast of taking care of the poor--and He didn't mean stop doing it!). Last year I committed to adding extra (above the norm) Bible study and prayer to my life for the 40 days. I'm doing that this year.

It's going better than the complaining thing at the moment, but we're only on Day I figure as we get farther along, the second will definitely aid in the first, no? :)

Letitia Suk said...

So how's that going? I don't remember doing anything last year either but his year,perhaps to make up for last, I decided to GIVE UP fiction and the toast part of tea and toast in the AM and ADD ON some additional devotional readings. I am very aware of Lent each day but expect to, as usual, not be able to process until after the experience.