Monday, March 6, 2017

Some Thoughts on Lent





Guess what I’m giving up for Lent…

I’m giving up trying to give something up!

Traditionally, Lent has been associated with penance, fasting, and abstinence… sacrificing pleasures or vices as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice. A time of reflection and repentance, for some Christians it is a joyful, deeply spiritual thing.

I’ve always been an abysmal failure at it.  Basic human nature is such that the more you focus on giving up the thing, the more you want it. C’est moi.

I’m tired of making resolutions I probably won’t keep, giving in to temptation, and then feeling even worse about myself.  A lying voice sneaks up to whisper “Failure” in my ear. Like our original ancestors, I pull away from God in shame. Instead of feeling closer, I feel further away than before.

But, while he was visiting here, Jesus repeated these words from the Old Testament:

I desire mercy and not sacrifice.*

What if instead of sacrificing chocolate or wine or carbs or cussing or unkind thoughts, I asked for MORE.

more mercy, instead of judgment…
more love, instead of indifference…
more patience, instead of aggravation…
more acceptance, instead of bitterness…
more joy, instead of heaviness…
more abundance, instead of lack.

The Christian life is about provision, not deprivation.
Satiation, not starvation.
Bounty, not depletion.

More, not less

Lent is a time when I want to feel closer to God. More God-centric, less Me-centric. When I focus on my shortcomings, it builds up an invisible wall.  Low self-esteem is still Self-oriented, not God-oriented. A sense of unworthiness is a barrier that must be overturned.

How to break down that wall between the Holy and the Un-?

Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you.**

It’s that simple.

Like a child, run back into Daddy’s arms. Clean or filthy, naughty or nice, He embraces the one He loves like no one else. He draws you close to His boundless  heart, glad that you are safely home from wherever you’ve been wandering.

And He will give us More.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”***

The main thing God wants to give us more of

is Himself.

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” ***

Christ in me.

Recently, a wise friend shared an analogy with me. She told me that when she was in a time of having the life crushed out of her, she envisioned herself with an oxygen tube sucking Life out of God. The source is infinite and inexhaustible. There is always more.

The best gift that God longs to give us is more of His Spirit. That is one prayer that is always answered. How much more will your Father give good gifts to those who ask Him!

This Lent, I am coming boldly into the throne room and asking for more from my loving, limitless Father. More abundance, more mercy, more grace…

more of Him.

I am praying that for all those who read this as well.  (Yes, even you.)

...so that the Spirit may flood our beings with such love and joy that selfishness and sin will be flushed away by the flow of living waters.

And the sacrifice we offer will be a sacrifice of praise.


*****


* Hosea 6:6 and Matthew 9:13
** James 4:8
***John 14:20


I have a favor. If you are interested in more thoughts on life and faith from a modern-day Margery, would you please give me thumbs up in the comments? Helps to know I'm not just blowing steam. Thanks!!

15 comments:

Elizabeth Richards said...

I'm so glad you are writing again. It is so inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Kim,

I SO needed to read this. Your writing inspires, encourages and challenges me! I do need more of Him. Thank you for this and I truly hope you continue to write. Such wisdom!

Much love always,

Susie C.

Lauren Kemper Orr said...

So glad Margery is back!! I was just telling Ames last week how much I love your writing.

xoxo,
Kemper

The Retarded Mother said...

Ten thousand thumbs up. I am an unconventional God person. I do not easily use the same language that you do. BUT.....I always feel "full" after I read your writing, your inspired words and the messages that are being sent through you ---to me (and to all readers.)
I love this. More love. More forgiving. More being open to all that makes us available to receiving divine care.
So, thank you.
More thumbs up. Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad you're back.
This world needs your insight, inspiration, and gifts.

oby dupree said...

Wow wow wow👏⭐👍❤

Sharon Lindell said...

You get more than a thumbs up from me. I love that you share your insight and outlook on things. Ironically, I was just having very similar feelings on Lent this year. I often fail at it and this year I decided not to participate. Glad to know I'm not alone in feeling that "failure" label that we attach to ourselves. Love to all of you and yours!

Nancy Milner said...

Please keep writing Kim! Love you.

Anonymous said...

Kim, your thoughts on Lent are so beautifully and clearly stated. Reading this was definitely an eye-opener for me as I often am too focused on "giving up" rather than "giving". Thank you for sharing your extraordinary insight and faith!

Love,
Karen Moncrief


Ashley said...

Love this! So true!

Anonymous said...

Thank You! I have printed this post so I can read it over and over again. Peggy Brown

theidahothompson5 said...

Please, keep writing. God has gifted you and is using you!!

Anonymous said...

One thousand thumbs up! Please keep writing!
Mary

Anonymous said...

You always inspire me. Please keep writing!

Cynthia

Kim said...

Thank you all for your encouragement!

I am inspired by you!

Anonymous said...

This is a thumbs up! Needed the witness of the cleaning boy or was it your witness or maybe just a gift from God.