I last posted on Fat Tuesday. Isn’t that supposed to be followed by a Lenten reflection or series or something? Shouldn’t I have blogged the grand reveal of what I am giving up for Lent this year? What about progress? Am I making any in my life? Is it being chronicled?
Wow! What a hefty dose of should’s and expectations I bear on my shoulders!
Lenten observance is a touchy subject, according to my facebook feed. I have friends who devoutly observe the church calendar and post blogs and links supporting their choice of what to give up or not. There are many great ideas, deep thoughts, and encouraging words.
In fact, my Lenten focus existed in cyberspace before I even knew it, as I wrestled with where I am on the journey this year. I found confirmation and encouragement in one of those facebook links. I felt affirmed and free to embrace my choice to engage.
There are those who take a non-observant stance when it comes to Lent. They believe that there need not be a particular season of fasting. Not only that, but some communicate this non-observance with an underlying tone that those who choose to observe are somehow acting superior to those who don’t. Motive is read as trying to earn God’s favor, doing penance, or gloating in works of righteousness. Those personal-opinion blogs and links also pepper my all-important facebook feed, causing me to soul-search and explore my knee-jerk reactions.
Why am I choosing to have a forty-day focus? Why am I triggered by someone else’s equally valid choice not to? What is true here? What is my tone in the above paragraph?
I’ve been on both sides of the Lenten fence in various life seasons. Lent offers up the opportunity to engage with and release what seems to be taking over and consuming me, other than Christ.
Some years it’s been chocolate, others alcohol or caffeine. There were seasons of self-consumption, where the choice to just rest in the mess and let it be was made. There was a season of sitting in the office of a wise counselor and hearing the words, “Of COURSE there are Legos all over the floor. You have NINE people living together. It’s a MESS!” During that time of my life, I had to learn to be present in the mess and recognize my idol of control when it reared its ugly must have everything appear perfectly organized delusional head.
This year, I have decided to actively give up clutter. This means being intentional about getting it out of my house and is where Pinterest and Facebook friends have so kindly linked and informed me of all the ways that this can be done.
It’s also about not allowing it in!
For me, I am giving up the shoulds and just doing it. Letting go. As I continually learn to breathe, so will my surroundings, and order will follow chaos, to the degree that I choose to enter the battle.
It’s not about a formula or a three-step plan to spiritual wholeness. It’s not about superiority or measuring how many tons of clutter are removed from my life. It’s not a before and after shot or marketing plan. It’s about being honest with my heart and taking action to remove what so easily becomes my focus…stuff.
Where are you today? What do you feel nudged about giving up or resting in? You are not alone!