It’s been harder for me to figure out exactly what I wanted to do this year, to observe Lent – as far as self-reflection and sacrifice is concerned.
I know I wanted to read, meditate on Scripture, write, pray. These are center and always a part of this season. Though this is only the 3rd year I’ve observed what this season is for – the 3rd year I’ve taken personal practice into this time – I am thankful for the introspective nature, the worship-driven posture. I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I take to sit in His presence and listen intently on what He is trying to teach me.
I am fully aware that I don’t need a “season” for that. I strive to live my life not marginalized by practices and liturgy and mere tradition on autopilot. I know, because I am human, I am susceptible to keeping behaviors in these categories, rather than choose each day to be actively in His presence. I’m not only susceptible, I often make it mundane, as something to do, because one is “supposed” to, rather than live in the constant outpouring of thanksgiving under grace – that I am His, without cease, loved and created for His purposes and given new mercies every morning. My life should be a daily celebration of Whose I am and who I am under His care.
The statement above is what finally spurred me into awareness of what I want to avidly and intricately focus my attention and energy on in the subject of this Lenten sacrifice.
|DNA sequence, London, UK – Credit|
There are opinions held about who I am. No voices or contributions louder or more indefatigable than my own. This is categorically the largest obstacle keeping me from resting in His truths over tenacious lies. And I would really like for that to change.
So for this year’s Lent journey – I am giving up something. In its place, I am taking up something else: I am giving up my adjectives for His.
I thought about it on the way home from work one night. “What is the largest thing standing in the way of my belonging to Him? What keeps me from abiding, believing?” And while I could think of many distractions that keep me from spending more time from him – the kinds of things one would usually give up during Lent to curb the urge to turn to, rather than more of Him – for some it’s TV, others give up a sweet tooth or coffee… But I knew that this year, I wanted to be intentional – I wanted to break a fetter that has hindered growth and dependence.
There are many names for myself – adjectives for my identity – that I can quickly and adequately list when asked for description. And truth be told – the majority of them are in direct opposition with who He declares me to be. Direct opposition.
And the repetitive motion I perform of wearing the wrong name, throwing off His work and His will and His declaration….I replay the dissonance of lies over the ballad of truth. It’s unhealthy, it’s tragic, it’s disobedient, and it keeps me from His grace by my choosing.
He died on Golgatha, He moved the stone that could not contain Him. He paid for me with nails and wood and self. I am not what I was.
I am not what I keep believing.
I belong to the I AM. And He declares me His.
So, this year, to try harder than I have in the past – to pray that it lasts and sinks deep into the mire of my doubt and sinful heart – I am giving up the rejection of my self. I am taking up His identity for me.
Each week, (or the time will vary based on the need to meditate on the particular truth), I will write down an adjective that I believe applies to myself. In all seriousness, one in which I daily operate under the belief is my identity. I will pray and repent and ask for strength to let go of the lie in my hand. I will find a way to release it – whether that be to burn the piece of paper, or to write that word on a leaf and set it in the current of the river to disappear from view. I will leave it behind, holding no remnant. Then I will pick up a stone or gather the words another way. I will write the truth of who I am in Him. A name He lovingly and accurately calls me (oh to believe this!). This, I will keep. Close. Present. I will meditate, absorb, pray for the Spirit to graft deep.
I have already begun. I needed more than just a couple of days to let go of this one.
He is patient. He is kind. He does not boast [in my weaknesses].
He keeps no record of my [blundering, constant] wrongs. He does not provoke my downfall.
He raises me higher in truth. He believes all things [good, beautiful, redeemed] about me. He hopes for my victory. He endures [each of my failings, my tendencies to chain myself to the wrong walls, to punish and believe the worst, to seek favor in the wrong eyes and to measure my value by the willingness to be cared for by others – the imperfect – the ones hurting just like me] all things.
He is LOVE.
He never fails.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
And so I seek liberty. I seek to wear that freedom.