Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and my intention was to publish this on Tuesday evening, but as you might relate, other things happened.
It all started last week, when my little guy turned 5 and we had a pirate party to plan and execute! Our weekend was full of fullness and then Monday was catch-up day from the weekend and so Tuesday was going to be my writing day. But yet again, our plans don’t always work out the way we plan!
I’m learning flexibility along with discipline of time. It’s one of those things I’m working through that will someday work itself out here in a series of blog posts, but for now it’s all just churning around inside, growing and stretching me in ways which are not always comfortable.
Now that you are all caught up on why this Ash Wednesday post is on Thursday, let’s get back to it.
This is our second year of practicing Lent. And as I said last year, we don’t come from a background that regularly practices Lent, but I love this idea of giving up a part of my world to have more of God in my world.
Last year, I gave up social media and app games, yet I discovered I filled up that time with other projects on my to-do list. (NOTE: I’ve never had a problem filling up my time. My problem is slowing down and letting Him fill me up.)
I’m again laying aside some things, giving God space in my life and allowing issues within me to come to the surface so we can deal with them in this desert time.
In Luke 4, Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit for 40 days. When I think desert, — hot, dry, and uncomfortable are all adjectives that come to my mind. It’s not a pleasant place, or even a vacation spot we seek out. The desert is a place of difficulty and struggle.
Lent is a time when we voluntarily enter the desert. A time of allowing difficulty in our life for a season. This difficulty and struggle can shape us under pressure. When we give up a simple pleasure or comfort in life, it doesn’t take long before we become irritated and annoyed…bringing out our best side! Yet it’s under this pressure that things are brought to the surface.
For example, when I am tired, I get cranky. Did my tiredness make me cranky or did my tiredness just bring out what is already in me? Depriving myself of certain pleasures will throw me off my game, put me under pressure, and cause a little irritation under my skin. This deprivation time isn’t a bad thing. It’s an opportunity to face some things within me that God wants to work on so that when I’m under pressure, good things come out of me instead of not-so-good-things.
For this season, it is not just about deprivation, but dedication as well.
I can deprive myself of certain pleasures, yet if I just give them up and fill that time with other pleasures, it’s not really drawing me closer into what He wants to do in me. So I not only deprive myself, but I also dedicate.
During this season, I am dedicating my time and resources into listening to Him, asking questions, digging deeper and finding out what is inside that God wants to bring out. I’m thinking this is not going to be pleasant, yet at the same time, I’m feeling it will be productive.
I’m inviting you to journey with me during this Lenten season. This season of giving up and giving in to His work. We’ll travel together and see where this desert journey takes us.
* Photo courtesy of Jeff Lynch Photography