Friday, March 1, 2019

Giving up for Lent by Lavera Wade

Ash Wednesday is March 6 and I have decided to give up my obsessive habit of checking the news several times a day.  I will admit it has taken me over a month to decide that I can achieve this. 
I grew up in the Methodist church and was not in the habit of observing Lent as a time to give up anything.    I joined Community of Christ in 2011 and that first spring I had words with a friend about of all things how to load the silverware in the dishwasher.  Handles up or down, I believe I was right but did not want to end the friendship over how to load a dishwasher.  So I apologized for showing my frustration and thought nothing more of it.  A month later I found my friend reloading the silverware again her way.  And again I found I had to apologize after expressing my frustration.
After some reflection and because Lent was upon us I decided somewhat impulsively, I am going to give up the need to be right for Lent.  I shared that I was going to try for 40 days to just let anything I disagreed with go.  I was not making promises I would achieve this, and that this was not forever, just forty days.  I did pretty well actually and have each year given up some other habit just for lent and as best I can.  Sometimes I think it would have been a lot easier to give up chocolate.  No self-reflection required with chocolate.
So imagine my surprise when I googled “give up the need to be right”, in preparation for this article and found it is all about control.  As were the habits of the other years.  This year is about the drama, but that is another story.
I am involved in Spiritual Companionship training and learning about discernment.  Much of what I am reading speaks to how we often fail to seek God’s will in our lives, and try to call our own shots.  For me this has led in my past to some really poor choices.  It’s not so much the mistakes that have caused me the most sorrow. It has been the loss of peace and hope, that comes when I do not trust God to lead me in the right direction.  Thinking I can come up with a better idea.   To be honest there wasn’t any thinking just not including God in my life in any meaningful way.
I have learned through the years that God is always willing to work with us, making the best results out of even the most hopeless situation.  But my new journey with God, practicing discernment is to try to seek his will before I make a choice.  Asking God to send his Spirit to guide me.  I now spend time in Spiritual practices, and the prayer of exam, opening my heart so that I may be lead. 
And so I am excited to begin my Lenten journey this year.  I have three books that I am looking forward to reading.  All address learning more about developing a closer relationship with God.  As always I say this is only for forty days.  And I will do the best I can.
Blessings to you in your Lenten journey.