"Be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes 5:18

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Lent Of The Heart

I'm not sure I'm into this Lent thing as a protestant Christian. Just some of the words in the definitions of the event worry me. Terms like "doing penance", "good works", "sacrifice". Yet, at the same time, the exercise of focusing on what Christ gave up in order to remind us to bear our own crosses is not a bad thing.
So, what I've decided is that like most things, Lent is what you make it. Just like the celebration of many holidays, you could look at the negatives traditionally or the elements that don't line up with your faith and chuck the whole thing. Another point against it is that we should not strive in these ways only once in the year. Still, that itself is not a reason to avoid using the occasion for reflection. We certainly don't chuck Christmas just because we should celebrate Christ's coming in our heart all year around.
Lent from the heart I think can glorify God. An empty work of religious ritual would insult him as it makes the Son's work on the cross worthless. Worse that that, having a spiritual high because we did it or, gave up, or paid a price, are highly insulting to the God who was the only one who could give anything meaningful toward our sinful state.
I mentioned on my Facebook the other day that my friend had some great insight on Lent. Laura felt convicted to say yes to others and no to herself. That is always a good exercise. Furthermore, there is no way she is going to flip it and the day after Lent, go crazy and say "NO!" to everybody all day. This Lent is a Lent from the heart.
Well, the Lord finally convicted me a Lent of the Heart for me this morning. This has been driving me nuts!!! My kids seem to tag teem "Mommy!?" me. It seems that at certain times of the day they spend about half an hour taking turns coming to me. It may be a need, a thought, an outfit needing opinion, an event four months ago that's on their brain, a request to do something later in the day, a question, or the ever so lovely one when I'm questioned out "What's for Dinner?" To which we should all answer "Food!" right!? Well, it's not so bad when you have been asked once but when they all come at different times because they didn't (somehow) hear the answer I gave their sibling, AND they forget what I answered and ask me again in ten minutes because they are hungry.......
Nuttville is around the corner.
It's really me. It's my patience and stamina. I have to mentally make a decision to not let this annoy me. I only have three, and I don't know HOW women with more handle this. It's not their fault so it's not right for me to get upset. Heaven help the child who just has a simple need or question and happens to come to the door when I've reached my limit and gets a gruntal "WHAT!!???" They may even see bared teeth from me, it's possible. I should probably secretly have them video me. I'm sure I would be so insulted by myself I'd be cured for good. LOL.
So, right now, Lent or not really, I'm going to work on this area. Still if it's a Lent of the heart, I'll take the theme to help me focus.
Yet, I'll make it nothing more. I won't add to the work of Christ. I won't deceive myself that I can contribute to the Almighty in any way and I really don't want to live my life on a religious high from my performance. At the same time, I need to remember to be sensitive to the conviction of the Lord in my life and focus on it. This exercise will help me glorify God and not me. That's what I want my Lent to be.
Lent is meant to prepare us to celebrate Easter. I don't see any better way to do that than to reflect Christ's patient selfless character.


Joan said...

Yep - excellent thoughts.

Amy B said...

non stop chatter... but us mom's are used to it by now, right?!?! I'm hyperventilating about Spring Break this week - WHEN AM I GOING TO GET SOME DOWN TIME?! Worry, maybe that's my "lent give-up"! Something you said triggered a desire to study! Bearing our cross... Is there more than One Cross to bear? I'm going to dig a little... if I can find any time in the next week before I forget my thoughts!! Love your post!