February 23, 2015

Lent: the Giving In, the Giving Up, and the Giving Thanks

I mentioned last week that I had plans of writing about Lent.

Until, that is, the God of everything beckoned me to lay aside my time management goals and the blogging schedule I had been keeping and just come and sit with Him.  

At first I began a feeble attempt to explain to Him how I have this schedule and it's not bossy, but it is consistent and comfortable while still stretching me. I explained how I had plans already and, well... you know how that can go.  

Really - it can go either way
He gives us that choice.
But last week, well- I chose the better part.
(At least on Wednesday, anyway!) 




I told ya'll last week that I am no expert. 
Um, let me be clear: At. All.

I have no religious background with Lent. 
I have no list of how to do this Lenten thing 'right'.
To be honest, this may be the only reason why I am willing to try!  

Last year was the first year I ever even considered it. 


Much like Advent, I thought Lent was a Catholic thing... and my experience with it was years ago with friends or co-workers who 'gave up' M&M's but not all chocolate, or gave up coffee - but not lattes somehow?  You see, they gave up technically, but they found a way around it all and slid in under the radar.  Well, I had spent much of my life living that way B.C., and I had no desire to go back to that way of sneaking around and just getting by. 

No thanks. I'll pass (and enjoy my chocolate and my coffee, thank you very much!)

Then again, I had no idea what I was missing out on.

I think my biggest fear in 'celebrating' Lent is just going through the motions with it. I'm a feeler and I want to FEEL something.  I have no desire to be religious... I've been there, done that, and I desire real, authentic relationship now instead.
Still, this Lenten season calls out to me.  This laying down our own desires... this willingness to sacrifice (even if it is faint and weak and wavering at times)... this bringing me back to the basics of what Easter is all about and what He accomplished in all of His pouring out... I want to give in and give up.  

Last year I gave up Self Doubt, or laid it down, maybe... or tried to, anyway.



It was hard... and it was freedom.  It was encouraging and empowering and oh how I wish I had just left it there, at the altar... at the foot of the Cross.

I couldn't believe how bossy Self-Doubt and Second Guessing had been until I kicked them out and refused to let them back in!

I can honestly say those 40 days last year... wow!
Those were just the best days!

But Lent wrapped up and Easter happened and slowly, sneakily, little by little, they moved back in.

Oh - when I would notice them I was quick to call them out --throw them out, even! But it turns out I didn't make them pack their bags. 

I could go on and on about that... about how it went wrong or what I coulda/shoulda done differently, but here's the deal:

This year, I am giving up NEGATIVITY!
So, this looking back with regret is thin ice over a deep well.

I say it loud and proud that I am a crazy faith girl... and it's true.  I've testified of how God supernaturally changed my natural bent from one of worry and fear to faith and hope. I am, almost annoyingly, positive.

But much like how I thought I didn't 'need' to read Ann Voskamps' One Thousand Gifts because I was already a thankful person - and yet, it rocked me and changed me in all the best ways...  I didn't think I 'needed' a Negativity fast, either.  

I am a positive person and believe my job - my call - is to speak life, to be love, to shine on... to call out the gold and encourage and uplift...

But then He reminded me, "Yes... but for you, too!  This is not just for everyone else!"


And I realize that what little room I still give to negative thoughts, --well, they are often aimed right at me! (Ah yes, which opens the door to Self Doubt and Second Guessing!)

So, I see now the cycle that must be broken... the cycle that pulls away from freedom and pushes me into shadows and up against back walls... not speaking up... not speaking out... not speaking life... To you, yes - of course! But to me? Less consistently, that is for sure!

He is calling me to a season of greater trust, greater faith, greater spontaneity and Spirit-led-ness.

In that life, there is no room for Self-Doubt or Hesitation...
No room for Negativity or Defeat...



But there is plenty of room for Wonder!


So, so far it's going alright... I have had a few 'conversations' in my mind interrupted and cast down.  I am actively replacing negative thoughts with Truth, and I am trying to stay on top of it even when I don't have any feels about it.  My feelings, even the spiritually charged ones, are not the boss of me. Sacrifice and blind obedience is just that - often like just feeling your way through the dark... but oh the Wonder when His Light shines and He reminds us that we were once blind... but now we see!

Then there was this... He whispered it to me quietly, and I almost didn't hear Him...

Don't Just Give something Up for Lent...
Give something Out, too!
Give Thanks!

I wasn't clear on what that meant until my friend Asheritah wrote out a challenge... immediately, I knew.

So, in addition to giving in to observing Lent, and giving up Negativity... I am adding in a little something else!  My sweet friend Asheritah over at One Thing Alone laid out a challenge: Every day for the duration of Lent, thank one person for something they’ve done, and then thank God for that person.  So I am giving in, giving up, and giving thanks! 

We'd love to have you join us! Click here to learn more about her Challenge for #40Thanks!



Linking up with these lovely ladies:

The Community over at #SmallWonders (Formerly Unforced Rhythms)...

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

Kelly Balarie for #RaRaLinkUp

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory


Meredith Bernard for #Woman2WomanWednesday

Holley Gerth for #CoffeeforYourHeart

44 comments :

  1. That's where I'm at too. I have never observed lent, but I like how that and advent are becoming more "christian mainstream?" if that's what you want to call it. Loved hearing your heart in all of this, it make me think of the song "He Loves" where it says "I don't have time to maintain these regrets, when I think about the way He Loves us". On a different note, I got the package today! What a nice surprise! I looooove the cards!

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    1. Um... my friend - that song - that specific line... SO MUCH YES!!! That is my FAVORITE line! Gah - it's just so TRUE, right? And Yay! I am so glad the package arrived and you are happy with the contents! So much fun!

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  2. Great post friend! I need to give up negativity when it creeps in too. That's such a cool idea. I might have to do that in addition to my praying through my FB friends list!

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    1. Ah yes - I love that you are doing that! That is your own version of #40Thanks! So cool! xoxo

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  3. Love this post, especially this quote, "He is calling me to a season of greater trust, greater faith, greater spontaneity and Spirit-led-ness"...this resonates so with me...many blessings to you ❤️

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    1. Oh Amen Beth! So happy to hear we are pressing in together, friend!

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  4. I have never participated in Lent either, but I am definitely up for giving up negativity, defeat and self-doubt. I'm going to have to check out the challenge. ---I love your blog design by the way.

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    1. We could all use a little less negativity and letting our imaginations and thoughts run wild, yes? Thanks so much for stopping by! (Thanks... Traci Michele Designs worked with me to find something that was just exactly what I wanted! I love it too!)

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  5. Karrilee,
    What a great thing to give up: Negativity....I'm sure I could give that up, too...The one thing that helps me is to give thanks...like you, I didn't grow up practicing Lent so it has been a new thing the past few years but I'm glad..blessings to you :)

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    1. Amen, Dolly! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings right back to you!

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  6. Oh, Karrilee, you are singing my (our) song--the focus on wonder and rest and listening. We can never go wrong when we seek to be led by God's Holy Spirit. What a faith-filled post!

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    1. Amen, sister! (Literally... you know, my maiden name is Colliins so... who knows!) ;) So thankful that you stopped by!

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  7. I'm so thrilled to have you on this journey of thanking God by thanking others this Lent. We could all use a reminder to chuck the negativity and embrace the gifts God has given us. Looking forward to the next few weeks!

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    1. Oh friend... He is good and He blesses us so much in so many ways but in relationships and people and oh how it does a heart good to know that we matter, right? I love this challenge and I have been having fun writing cards and sending texts and talking with my people and saying Thank You! #40Thanks

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  8. What a different take on how to use this season to make positive life change. I agree that sometimes people give things up, but somehow find loopholes on how not to really give up what they want. Or maybe they have alternative motives to loose weight or something and it isn't about growing closer to God. I will focus on removing negativity it sounds like a great focus in a time where we are remembering the greatest gift God gave us. His son and our salvation.

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    1. Amen Amenda! It really IS supposed to be about growing closer to God and no matter where we are - we could all use that! Thankful you are joining in, my friend!

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  9. Love this post! I, too, have recently discovered Lent - not to give up something on a technicality just to follow the rules,but to give up something in order to grow closer to God. He's asked me to spend more time in prayer, which is cutting into my writing time - but that's OK. It's good to spend more time with Him and lay aside my plans - and see where else I can rearrange and prioritize my schedule.

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    1. Oh Kathryn, I LOVE this! More Prayer is always so good and needed and such a wise investment of your time... and I am SURE it will cause your writing time to prosper! Thanks so much for sharing! I love when He beckons us to prayer!

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  10. Lent was not part of my practice until a few years ago either. But now I love practicing this focused time with Father and really leaning into what He would say to me in this season. Love the idea of giving thanks to others throughout Lent too.

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    1. Oh Holly... jump in! I am loving the added incentive to uplift and encourage and say thank you with intention during Lent this year!

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  11. I always look forward to what God has to say through you! I never considered giving up something like self-doubt for Lent. Oh, I'm in. Right now. All the way. Linking with you today at #RaRaLinkup.

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    1. LOL - well, Ginger - I can't say it was my first choice... ;) Thrilled that you are all in with us! Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello!

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  12. I struggle with the things you mentioned too (as you know from reading my blog)! I love your insight here. Giving up negativity about ourselves is a great step towards God -- towards Love. Thank you for this post. I sure enjoy your blog!

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    1. Jenni, ah yes - we know the struggle is real, right? So happy to have you stop by! You are welcome here any time!

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  13. I love the idea of making lent about giving thanks and thanking others. I also struggle with negativity towards myself, even though I am the eternal optimist in all other areas. It is a struggle to leave it at the foot of the cross. It makes me wonder if maybe this is something I will always struggle with and God will use it to continually cause me to draw near to Him. Kind of like Paul's thorn in the flesh. Hmmm, lots to think about. Great post as always! :)

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    1. Amen, Tobi! Kindred, indeed! I always so appreciate your kindness and support, my friend!

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  14. Oh, I love this! I've been trying lately (not a Lent thing, just an attempt to stop being pettily annoyed at Adam) to say something nice/grateful/true about someone every time I think something negative/selfish/untrue. It has been helping (when I remember), but I've been surprised at how often the person I have unkind thoughts about is myself. And while it's really awkward to think "I am such a terrible mother" and then immediately say aloud "I am loving these kids the best that I can, and I trust that the God who gave them to me will also fill in any gaps that I leave" but it's also oddly refreshing.

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    1. refreshing and powerful, my friend! I am a big believer in the power of declarations and speaking the truth - yes, OUT LOUD!!! (Something about the power of life and death in our mouths...) ;) LOVE that He is prompting you to do this too! Nice to know we are in this together, friend!

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  15. Lent is not a practice I grew up following either and I think as an adult I have been afraid to try it cause I might not get it 'right'. Negativity is something I could surely stand to give up too.

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    1. Oh friend... I so get that! I am with you in not knowing if I am doing it 'right' - but I figure if it is drawing me closer to Him - it can't be that bad, yes?

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  16. Can't comment specifically, as I'm in the bath (I know!), other than LOVE THIS!! And, it was such a blessing running into you at the gym today and being able to visit while recumbent biking, lol! Your encouragement got me through one of the most negative thought-filed says I've had in a long time. Total God encounter. Bless you, girl!!

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    1. It was a God encounter,indeed! Let's work on taking those thoughts captive and replacing them with Declarations of Truth! Praying for you, friend! See you soon!

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  17. It strikes me how thorough God is with us, to bring out more layers and more layers of the same root issue, for us to find freedom and wholeness. This is what it sounds like your Lenten journey is, so bound up with your journey last year that has continued. Freedom, friend, that's what I hear.

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    1. And I add a resounding Amen and Let it be so, Lord! Here's to Freedom, my friend!

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  18. I always love visiting here! :) I did grow up practicing Lent and it was a time of giving up something but the focus was on making it for 40 days without "said thing" instead of looking within and letting God enter this whole process. Lent has become a time of intentional Sabbath time each day with God rather than giving up something this year. It is God working on me from the inside out and it is good!

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    1. Amen, Mary! It IS good! Thanks so much for stopping by! You are always welcome!

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  19. I REALLY like this idea of giving out for Lent. I don't have a background in Lent either, so when everyone on social media started talking about what they are giving up, so I joined in. This year I don't want to join the crowd I want the next 40 days to be more intimate and personal with God. Deliberate. Does this make sense?

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    1. Oh that makes TOTAL sense! I am with you in that! I was hesitant myself to join in this year for exactly that reason! I didn't want to just go through the motions and hashtag #Lent... ;) (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) But yes... to invest in these 40 days intention and intimacy... and to give out! Deliberate... that is such a great word! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  20. Hi Karrilee! I didn't grow up practicing Lent, either. I love your take on seeing Wonder, and giving out Thanks! Beautiful post! Visiting today from Holley's place (and also the RaRa Linkup!).

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    1. Thanks so much, Ellen! So we love the same hangouts and link ups and people... and God! Thanks for stopping by! You are always welcome here!

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  21. Can I just shout how refreshing and beautiful your blog is. I have come away feeling challenged, cheered, and inspired. So glad I joined up the #W2W linkup this week...

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    1. Well that is just the nicest comment, Christine! You are welcome here any time!!!

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  22. Hi Karrilee! Great ideas here! Thanks for including us in what God is teaching you! #RaRaLinkup

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Katy! Have a great weekend!

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!
~Karrilee~

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