We're about half-way through Lent...how's it going? What did you decide to give up or take up? Did you make any spiritual goals? How have you grown thus far and how do you hope to make the most of the remainder of this season?
My Lent has flown. One might understand this to mean that my Lent has been wonderful and therefore has flown...however, it's been a rollercoaster of happenings.
God has a way of stretching me, taking seasons to help me grow, and even if I can see that this is His intent in the midst of these periods, I have a hard time appreciating these opportunities.
This Lent has been a rollercoaster of emotions and events. Some extreme highs and some lows. I'm being challenged day after day to pick up my cross, one that I love and simultaneously despise, and follow after the One who gave His all for me.
I chose to give up a couple of things this Lent, one of these being music in the car. I've started to feel overstimulated in this world, so I thought this could be a good way to quiet my mind and heart. The one exception I've given myself is when I'm on a long drive, since I travel some for work and other life events and music is usually the only thing that keeps me alert on the road.
So, when this past weekend I drove more than 700 miles, I had a good amount of music time.
I've become re-obsessed with NEEDTOBREATHE and had one of their CDs in my car (yes, I'm an old lady with CDs...get over it)....this was really the only album I listened to for all of those 700+ miles. I'm the type who, when I find a song I LOVE, I listen to it on repeat for hours.
"Garden" is one of these such songs. (though the entire album is perfection. take a listen.)
The subject matter is clear from the title, but the first lyrics set the scene perfectly in the Garden of Gethsemane:
Won't you take this cup from me
'Cause fear has stolen all my sleep
If tomorrow means my death
I pray you'll save their souls with it
I've been hearing repeatedly in sermon and personal prayer that I must attempt to align my suffering with that of our Lord on the cross. But, I forget about the pre-cross scene.
Jesus is fully God and fully man. He had full knowledge of what was to occur and this frightened Him. He stepped into His fear despite knowing what was to come, but He too had to surrender to the will of His Father.
I forget this. Too often, I forget this. While I'm over in my corner suffering and crying out in anguish, I forget that Jesus did the same. I forget that my Savior also had doubts, He also had fears, He is human, just like me. (except that I'm just fully human) His suffering had a purpose, my salvation. I must believe that my suffering, which pales in comparison, has a purpose as well.
And in the same thread, our Lord isn't asking me to be fearless or cast away my doubt, but He is asking me to trust Him. The only way His Father's plan worked was through Jesus' trust, and so I must try my darnedest to trust Him as well.
The chorus of "Garden" reminds me of how I need to be living my day-to-day:
Let the songs I sing bring joy to youLet the words I say confess my loveLet the notes I choose be your favorite tuneFather let my heart be after you
Despite my heartache, despite my fears, despite my loneliness and worry and everything else....the one thing that I can focus on in the turmoil is fixing my eyes and heart on the One who loves me unconditionally.
God doesn't ask for grand gestures. I'm sure He finds joy in my mortifications and self-denial, but ultimately, all He wants from me is my heart. And all He wants from you is your heart. When I feel that I have nothing left to give, when I've been emptied of everything, I still have my heart to be surrendered to my Lord.
And that's all He wants.
So that's how my Lent is going. It's struggle and beauty, all in one.
How is your Lent? Please share your reflections with us in the comments or link-up your post below!
Next week's topic:
Expectations vs Reality...of the Single Life
Have you ever had people in your life, who have expectations of what your life is as a single person which are different than the reality of your life? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you're unmarried? Did you ever have expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?
4/7: Challenge Check-inA couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?
4/14: Christian FriendshipWhat does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we let certain things go easier? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do the differ? Is one better than the other?