From the time I was little, Lent has always been about giving up something for those forty days before Easter. I never considered it as something good - something to focus my heart and mind on just Easter means. It was always a hassle. What was I going to give up? What could I realistically give up that I wouldn't really miss...
After years of that, I became an adult. "Ahhhh.... no one telling me I have to give something up." So I didn't. It's interesting that I never sat and thought about it or prayed about it because if you ask me what my most favorite day of the year is, I will unequivocably state Easter. Easter...that beautiful day when God completely conquered death, Jesus arose and all could be right with God again. A gift beyond explanation or exclamation. Exquisite. The most beautiful thing ever done.
This year, though, that has changed. On the radio last week, the morning question was "what do you give up for Lent?" and one of the women who called in talked about how several years ago she decided instead of giving up something, she was going to give away something every day for Lent. Even if it was just a few minutes of her time, she was going to spend forty days doing something kind, giving something away, instead of the meaningless giving up diet soda, sugar, tv, etc..
She's done it every year since. I'm not going to judge whether or not her heart is completely changed or just toward Lent & Easter but what she said struck me (why it's just Lent). She said, in those first forty days of giving something away, she realized she WAS giving something up. Herself. What she did every day was no longer about what she was doing but about what God wanted her to do.
When I heard that I was hit again but how something so simple, something that should come naturally to my brain, can turn me upside down. What a way to honor Jesus. It became my plan for this Lenten season.
Then, this afternoon, I was reading through a few blogs and stumbled across this post. And again...it hit me. I am not looking for kudos from heaven. That isn't my goal. I am, however, looking to be intentional about what I am doing in my life. See...in the last several months, I've ended up feeling so low I didn't really want to climb out of bed. Oh, I'd get up every morning and go to work and come home and do...life but...I didn't really want to. I avoided talking to anyone about it because I knew I'd hear the word "depressed." Every time I hear that word I think of my grandmother but...that's another post.
Anyhow. Off the rabbit trail. A few weeks ago I had an amazing dream (also another post) and when I woke up from it, because of my alarm, all I could do was crawl out of bed, into the shower and pray. And pray. And pray. I'm still not sure I'm done feeling "low" but I do know God has my attention and I'm done fighting with Him about it. My prayers have been fervent yet so very often, I am silent since then and I feel like I've been blindfolded and God has my hand. It's as if I thought I had my eyes only on Him and He showed me just how incorrect in that belief I was and now I don't want to look at anything else.
It's the "and then some" He's after, I think (read that post). I was - and still am - willing to do whatever God asks of me. I was not, however, willing to give it anymore than what I had to. Going above and beyond was out. I was too tired, too warn down, too wrapped up with myself to offer Him anything more than a few moments in a day and those moments were usually filled with promises of "Let me know what you want, Lord. I'm here for you." If He didn't respond immediately, I was off the hook - free to live life as I'd done the day before.
I am curious now. What does He want to show me? What will it mean to give Him the "and then some" after I give something away every day? What will those something's be? Where will this lead me? I'm still not sure what my "giveaway" for today is and today is the first day of Lent... Maybe it's something as simple as the link to Lysa's post? Ah, a girl could get so lucky. We'll see what happens. Hopefully I have a few good stories to share here...