Failing Lent

I am failing Lent. 

This year, my plan was to do this thing I saw on Pinterest called 40 Bags in 40 Days; filling one trash bag (whatever size) of things I don’t use or no longer need. I also, as is my Lenten practice, was going to add a new spiritual discipline to try. 

I chose Lectio Divina – an interactive, deeply personal and reflective reading of scripture. I also wanted to use some of my Lenten reflective time to work on my book, journal, build up my blog queue and spend more time outside, more time studying God’s word and more time discerning how to be a better minister. 

I’ve done none of those things. 

Since Ash Wednesday, I have gone to work as usual, come home exhausted to look at my share of the cluttery mess in our apartment only to say “I’ll do it later;” crashed on the couch for hours and come to with enough time to say hey to my roomie, eat dinner, text the people I care about, MAYBE do some laundry, and go to bed. 

I have been working out more, but just because I found my Fitbit charger and Andrew has one to, so I have to win at daily steps. 

And suddenly, here in my car, right now eating lunch from Moe’s at 4 o clock in the afternoon, I had a revelation. 

Jesus withdrew to solitary places to pray. 

Say it with me. Jesus withdrew to solitary places to pray. 

What does that mean to you? I hope it means affirmation that your practice of caring for yourself is on point;

 because the alternative, if you’re anything like me, is feeling like you just got slapped in the face with a huge dose of “remember the sabbath and keep it holy.” 

In all my Lenten ambition for accomplishing all my Lenten to-do list, I exhausted myself before even having time to reflect on what Lent needs to be about for me this year. 

I introduced our communion time yesterday, on the first Sunday of Lent, as a time to examine our lives for places where Christ needs to become greater and I need to become less. 

Here in the Moes parking lot, I realize, I need to become less. 

Less anxious, less perfectionistic.

Less work-driven, less stressed.

Less controlling of my life’s details, less irritable of plans go awry. 

And Christ must become greater. 

A greater source of strength and refuge, a greater resource for rest and peace.

A greater motivator for pastoral care and my  ministries  of presence. 

A greater source of value for me: that from which my value is derived instead of size and shape, and clothes and hair. 

He must become greater, I must become less.

Remember the sabbath and keep it holy.

Jesus withdrew to solitary places to pray. 

Thanks be to God for holy reminders of who I am called to be, for grace when I fail to be that person, for companionship along my Lenten journey. 


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