One week has passed since Ash Wednesday. How are you coming along with your give-ups/take-ons this Lenten season? I will share with you my experiences thus far and invite you to reciprocate with your own in the comments section of my blog or on Facebook.
My give-up this Lent was computer solitaire. I must admit, for the first several days, my fingers itched to click that icon on my desktop. I literally had to stop and consciously recall why I had chosen to do this and think about what I should be doing in it's place. Last Sunday, our first "mini-Easter", I did allow myself to play several rounds only to discover that the allure it held for me less than a week before had waned significantly. My take-ons were thankfully superseding my desire for the game.
My first take-on for Lent was to write a blog at least once a week; so far, so good. I've been blessed with some wonderful ideas as of late and my new aim is to complete at least two each week.
The second take-on was to maintain a written prayer list (I am on a prayer chain at my church) and to conscientiously pray for each individual/family on a daily basis. On average, I might receive three requests per week, but that did not hold true this week and last. In seven days, my list burgeoned from three to thirty; God certainly knows how to keep things challenging! I have become, through praying consistently for others, much more mindful of C. S. Lewis' statement: Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me". Focusing on the needs and concerns of others and lifting them up to the Lord in prayer removes my "me" factor and increases my capacity for compassion toward all God's children.
Take-on three was a Bible study entitled Peter - Learning to Be Like Jesus. As there are only twelve chapters, I am completing two per week. The first two lessons centered on obedience and prayer. Both coerced me to take a good, hard look at my walk with Christ. Am I following Him in the ways He ordained for me? Loving others as He commanded? Seeking His will for my life? Praying that His will, not mine, be done? Thanking and praising Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? We were discussing questions similar to these in our Monday Bible study group when Gabe offered this simple yet profound insight.
"I may have said out loud only once before, 'I love you, God'. Maybe that's what He wants most to hear from us."
If light-bulbs had been suspended above our heads, they would have blazed simultaneously. How obvious it should have been to us all that the One who first loved us would want to hear that we love Him back? He knows our needs before we ask, but doesn't He value our prayers and supplications offered to Him? Of course! I realized in a flash what my prayers, what my life, needed. I resolved to tell God daily how much I love Him, to make this Lenten revelation a life-long and joyful practice.
Now, it's your turn. What insights or lessons or struggles or miracles have you encountered during Lent? I pray that your stories shared will be a blessing to all who read them!