I turn often. Turn away from my sin and my self but too often I don’t continue walking toward Him. After a few days of seeking and surrender (and to be honest a lot of human effort) I find myself frustrated that every thing didn’t change over night. The discipline breaks down and within a few days I slip into the same struggles that I tried to lay at the altar. Those failures lead to despair, guilt, and giving up. I end up where I started.
As I prepared myself last night to observe Lent I read the following from my friend @jnswanson,
“Repentance happens inside us. With an about-face, we find our lives changed, a turning from the way we were going.
We make much of the turning, of the repenting. Jesus doesn’t make much of the turn itself, of the moment of turning. He doesn’t say “Stop going there.” He says, “Come to me.” He speaks of rest, of humility, of burdens being lifted, of gentleness. More than lamenting the lack of repenting, He is encouraging the coming.” 1
At the top of my paper where I’ll gather my reflections for the next 47 days I wrote 5 words,
“this is about the coming”
These next 6 weeks it is about the coming. It may be slow and stuttering at times but I’m trying to to be mindful of the overall direction. The movement toward Him.
I’ve envisioned it as if I were walking along the road slightly behind Jesus and the disciples. Quietly listening. Wondering. Beginning to follow closer.
As I took pause this morning I encountered Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” That sense of self examination married to movement and direction. Yep that’s where I’m starting.
Where do my steps lead? In examining them what do I need to lay aside? Do I like where I’m going?
If you are new to Lent, you are in good company this is only my 2nd observance in my life, allow me to suggest 2 starting points
- Should Baptist Christians Observe Lent? by @WymanRichardson – A thoughtful and reasonable examination of the observance
- Lent for Non-Lent People by @jnswanson – A profound yet very practical set of readings for Lent.
I’ll close with a Lenten Blessing that resonated with me and that I pass on to you
May the Wind of God drive away impurity and bring fresh and vigorous possibility to your soul. May the freeing Spirit unbind those places within held captive by hopelessness, anxious thoughts and internal discord. And may you find a middle place of awareness, between the blowing and the stillness,o feel and watch the movement from old to new.
1. Swanson, Jon (2013-01-31). Lent for Non-Lent People: 33 Things to Give up for Lent and Other Readings (Kindle Locations 532-536). . Kindle Edition.