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!)
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!
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