As a Methbyterian (Methodist/Presbyterian), I am pretty comfortable with the idea of Lent.
The 40 days prior to Easter is called Lent. These days are set aside by many Christians as a time to prepare for the sacrifice of the perfect offering. Forty days is a big deal in the Bible.
Most people fast during Lent. The basic idea of fasting is to abstain from something as a sacrifice. For some, they fast from food or certain foods, or from certain luxuries. I know of one who will spend lent working on a more positive language tone. Whatever your fast looks like, it’s typically a time to refocus on God’s truth in our lives.
So today as I get my ashes, I’ll be focusing on preparing my heart for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But I will also be working on cleaning out my body!
I’ll be giving up sweets as my fast. By sweets, i mostly mean the things I now crave: candy bars and cokes. It’s all in an effort to focus back on what matters. Some will say, “That’s just a weight loss thing.” Yes but it’s also something that helps me focus on what’s important in my life. I believe as I regain control over this, I’ll see my control come back in other areas as well.
I tend to have an obsessive personality. Meaning, I can get pretty laser beam focused on a project. When that focus wanes, it might as well disappear. My faith walk and health walk have both slipped and it’s time to center back on them.
So, I’ll be focusing on getting my brain back into devotionals. With a crazy life, it’s challenging, but, it has to happen. I can’t live without the big guy’s guidance. And, I’ll quit trying to self-medicate with sweets.
So, do you celebrate Lent? If so, what is your fast?
– I have fat fingers. Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Every once and a while, as a parent, there are tough choices to make. But sometimes, hopefully, you can see the benefit of your choices.
Recently, we made the choice to move John Alan to a new school. It was an agonizing choice. We would have three kids in three different schools, with three different schedules. But, long term we felt that it was an option that was good for John Alan.
So, Sunday night was go time. I made his lunch, packed his backpack, etc., etc,. and just worried.
What if no one liked him?
What if he threw a fit?
We started off the morning a tad bit rough, but John Alan made it through. We walked into school and we met his new teacher, Mrs. Gray. I was able to talk to her for a while and John Alan settled in. I picked him up that day after school to a huge “MOMMMMMAAAAA” and there was a smiling, beaming face!
Today, he all but ran into the school (he would have if it hadn’t been raining). I carried his lunch, backpack, you know – did the mom thing.
Mrs. Gray saw me and told me, “You know, you need to let him carry his things. We trying to build independence.” I silently laughed. This is the kid that needs very little encouragement to be independent. But, lesson noted. I handed him his backpack and helped him find his name. After he was all organized, he ran down the hall to start his day.
Tha’ts such a nice way to start your day. Knowing your kiddo’s happy.
Pick-up today was just as good. He came running out, and was talking about his new school, asking the staff if they’d do this with him. He was making friends.
But, the truth came tonight. I don’t want to blame it all on his experience at St. Mary’s, but we had a breakthrough.
There are certain triggers that make life very unpleasant to experience with him and tonight, he got a hold of one of those triggers. However, tonight, I told John, “You have three minutes. When that’s over, it’s time to get ready for night-night. No fits.”
I mozied about doing my thing and about three minutes later John walked up and handed me his trigger.
I. WAS. SHOCKED. And overjoyed, and pleased. It took me a minute to realize what he’d just done. But when he did, I praised him. Jay stopped what he was doing to praise him. It was a truly beautiful moment.
Now, like I said, I don’t know if it was St. Mary’s, or if it was turning four, or what – but whatever it was – I was so grateful for the maturity he expressed tonight. It was a validation of what a big boy he’s becoming!
Now we can’t wait to have Reed at St. Mary’s as well. I am so pleased to have had this experience so early. I’m praying it’s a lasting affect and not just a placebo!
The past couple of days have really given me some perspective on life.
Real challenges derive our next framework for life. Whether we take the challenge head on and create synergy, or if we simply acknowledge it, our framework has changed.
Our nation, our society, our communities and our lives are impacted daily.
Jeremiah 29 is the most popular version of God’s message of perspective:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV)
The popular portion is verse 11, but rarely do folks follow up with the reading of the next three verses. To me, there’s lots of perspective messages here. God is constantly wanting us to move our perspective because we forget – this is a fallen world. It’s not ever going to be perfect, because we are not perfect.
But when it hurts, it really hurts. Family, colleagues, and friends are struggling with life perspective moments.
That statement is the most generic version of what’s really happening. These folks are the walking wounded.
But even they will someday face the opportunity to select their perspective in life. Our Sunday School class has been studying idols and how they are something our generation has to work though to come closer to Christ. One Bible story used was Jacob. (If you’re not familiar with his story, it starts in Genesis 25:19.)
Jacob, through all of the twists and turns of his life, eventually becomes Isreal – the one who wrestles with God. God changes his name, his perspective and his life. But, in order for that to happen, Jacob had to be willing to literally wrestle with God. After he did, Isreal (aka: Jacob) bore the perspective of that encounter every day of his life.
Our perspective should be driven by our faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
So, what’s your perspective going to be? How will you allow your perspective to be influenced by God’s calling in your life? Where’s your faith in the moments of crisis? Where’s your faith in the moments of calm?
Learn more about perspective in these scriptures:
- Joseph, son of Israel, Genesis 37
- Hebrews 11
- Rahab the prostitute, in the book of Joshua, goes on to be a part of the lineage of Jesus
- Mary, Luke 1:26 (really, really a perspective change)
- Each of the disciples – in their own unique way – had a perspective change.