I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘lent’

It’s always the Mother’s fault: Lenten Tribulation

1. This one is the most important. I know whatever comes below will be executed imperfectly. I resolve to give myself the freedom to be imperfect without beating myself up.

“Hey, Mom,” I used to query, shamefully not too long ago. “I didn’t ask to be here, right?” “No, you didn’t,” she would reply. “Your father and I wanted to have you.” “So!” I said triumphantly. “If I do anything wrong, it’s YOUR fault, because I would not have done it had you not had me.” She would shake her head at me and I would laugh maniacally. I mean, it makes sense! I couldn’t leave dirty dishes in the sink if I didn’t exist to put them there! 

Of course, even then I understood such passing of the buck was terribly evasive. My conscience is generally as tender as my mind is sharp. I truly believe one of the reasons I don’t handle criticism very well is because I am constantly raking myself over coals. By the time another person tells me something that needs work, I’ve probably told myself the same a million times. If I make a bad decision, I likely know it is a bad one, ‘wretched Lady J that I am.’

I like to think I am spending the time between now and getting my glorified body (just think of how fast I’ll be able to run in Heaven!) becoming more like Christ – minimizing the bad decisions as much as humanly possible. This sanctification business is no joke, y’all. The Holy Spirit has a LOT of work to do in my life. Today’s shortcoming: how I treat my body. In an effort to do better for myself, I’ve given up eating out for Lent. It’s not just about eating better (though important) or even saving money (races aren’t free) but what’s required for me in order to not eat out.

I’ve got to plan. And I hate that. 

I could wax eloquently here about why I think this is the case, but I’m basically your garden variety, boundary hating sinner. I’ve had to adjust my bedtime. Cook more. Plan my shopping. I have met a fair amount of success, for I feel better physically and am learning valuable things about planning, not to mention praying for patience

Then there was the Mother. 

Not my dear mother. A mother. A longtime friend! She’s moving to Italy for a few years and I will not see her unless I see her tonight. We love to eat. Naturally, she suggests we meet for a meal. Dilemma. 

I agreed because of my initial reaction. I didn’t think, ooooo, opportunity to cheat! It was more like, hmm, should I really do this? I wasn’t looking forward to it, aside from seeing her. Moreover, I didn’t care to make her seeing me extra work for her, though I don’t think she and her family would have minded. I  am not out to make some point on how great a Lenter I am. 

My burger didn’t have enough cheese. 

I told my own mother about it later and she teased me. “What kind of sacrifice is that?! How can you say you are committed?” I’m sure she knew I had already asked myself that but couldn’t resist. You know how moms are. I don’t feel great physically or mentally, nor do I feel good about going back to real life tomorrow. I might if I felt healthier or skinnier but right now it’s as though eating out doesn’t really make a difference. My shirt didn’t look that great at 6 PM. It doesn’t look so hot at 9:50. What did I lose? I suppose that misses the point, though. Discipline is discipline and I know that even if I were to gain a billion pounds between now and Easter, I would have done so doing the right thing and committing to do better for my body. 

Not even the sweet potato fries I had earlier are as sweet as God’s grace.



On Sucking and Vacuums 

I had the privilege of reconnecting with a friend from college recently. God is still using my girl Cut Short to touch my life and grow closer to Him; Mom2ECR is pictured between me and Cut Short, who is on the far left. 

After posting the above picture, I was inspired to see what was up with Mom2ECR. After catching up a bit, I shared my blog with her and was pleasantly surprised to learn she is keeping a blog herself. Something she wrote really resonated with me: 

Therefore, for Lent, I have decided to focus on the pursuit of something rather than the giving up something. Not that I will not be giving things up, but rather that I will keep the purpose of why I am fasting in mind. 

You should totes check out her blog to find out what precedes “therefore.” 

Lent is funny. Religion, generally speaking, is funny. I have often said that everyone is religious in his or her own way; the only difference in how or what we choose to worship. It is very easy to go through any tradition somewhat mindlessly, and religion is fraught with opportunities for ignorance. Some people dismiss religion for this reason, but I believe that the bad things about it are often systemic because people suck, not because religion does.

I say this to say that in my experience, the idea of giving up something for Lent can be very superficial. “I give up Coke!” Okay, maybe you don’t have Coke for 40 days. Your pancreas is grateful, I’m sure. But then what? The day after Easter you go back to life as it was? I don’t say that to minimize the effort that it took to fast from something for that time, especially if it was difficult. I don’t believe it’s my place to judge any fellow Christian for what, if, or how they choose to give up something, but what is the real point of doing so in the first place? If you are giving up something that is bad for you, shouldn’t logic dictate you probably shouldn’t be doing it the other 325 days of the year? 

That’s just it, though. We do suck at both doing things that are bad for us OR not doing things that are good for us. Like the Apostle Paul writes here: 

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (‭Romans‬ ‭7‬:‭19‬ NIV)

I think this catches everything, from how we treat our neighbor to what we choose to put in our body. We don’t just get to give up the Coke if we want to fast successfully. There must be something in place with which to replace it. Does Diet Coke count? Well, only the person fasting knows if that’s moving them toward Christ or not. I do know that nature abhors a vacuum. It is pretty difficult, if not impossible, to give up something without replacing it with something else. If I say that I’m going to give up being a jerk to my neighbor, I need to figure out how I’m going to treat my neighbor better. I can say with great confidence that the God I serve would not be pleased if I settled for indifference toward my neighbor as opposed to active malice. 

Paul writes earlier in his epistle to the Romans that all have fallen short of God’s glory. I fall short every day. It is impossible for me to lament on the state of humanity without first lamenting on my own state. Then I have to be careful not to be proud of my humility! This Christian walk business is no joke. I am thankful that my sanctification is a process and that Christ chose to die for me despite knowing what I am capable of. The Holy Spirit is working in me to remove my suck, but not without replacing it with the contrasting good quality. 

He’s pretty busy. 



Mardi Gras

Does anyone else find it terribly inconvenient to go buck wild on a school night?

Buck wild: (adj) – to go to bed past 9:30 PM, perhaps in conjunction with the enjoyment of a few slices of pizza.

My dictionary isn’t the most thrilling. But I digress.

Protestant Christian that I am, this former Catholic school girl has observed Lent for many years. This season in the Christian calendar is meant to commemorate the time
Christ spent in the wilderness being tempted. The sacrifice one makes, ideally, should force a person to lean on God more. For instance, I wouldn’t give up going to the movies because I never do that. However, choosing something to sacrifice that will take the wonder working power of the Holy Spirit to do will indeed prepare my heart to observe the awesomeness that is Christ’s resurrection.

Last year, I gave up negative self-talk. I realized I couldn’t do this alone by the day after Ash Wednesday, hah! It dawned on me that not loving myself was breaking the 2nd of Christ’s commandments as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew: love your neighbor as yourself. I learned I was treating my neighbors MUCH better than I was treating myself. It was kind of nice being nice to me. Of course, human that I am, I have relapsed, but I don’t think I am quite as bad as I was before I first started. I am more forgiving of the fact that I consistently need forgiveness.

This year, I am finding that I am having trouble putting the best fuel in my body. Not necessarily because I crave crap all of the time, but because I would rather eat poorly than do the planning it takes to give myself the best. I believe it is more of my negative attitude that is problematic than the actual eating poorly. Outwardly, I may be giving up eating out and junk food, but it is really going to require that I work on my resentment toward structure in order to make this happen. I’ve often wondered how doing something good for yourself can be termed “sacrificial” if you stand to reap great benefits from doing so. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that attitudes like that are part of what nailed Christ to the cross.

I’m embracing the opportunity to grow this Lenten season – toward Christ and others as I seek strength for this challenge. At least, now that I had some cake in the teacher’s lounge. Can’t win them all.

2015/02/img_4123.jpg

Tag Cloud