Okay, it's time for me to be vulnerable here. Feel free to skip if that makes you uncomfortable but for me, sharing is a way to be real, to be honest and have a little more accountability in who I want to become.
I've never celebrated or participated in Lent. Ever. I didn't grow up with it being a part of my church and never really understood what it was about. In my adult years, the extent of my Lent-knowledge has been pretty much "you give up something for awhile."
But the last couple of years I've been intrigued by the idea but not quite brave enough to attempt it. I should also add that I mean no offense to anyone by anything that I say here tonight!
I did some reading tonight about the history of Lent, why people practice it and how. I may not understand or agree with all of the reasoning or practices but I find it such a powerful thought and practice to give up something that impedes you from growing closer to God or walking along your Christian journey and spending this period of time reflecting on Him and what He has done for us.
Okay, so I'll be really honest and vulnerable here. I don't want to be. I can't stand to have people think badly of me. I always feel like I need to clarify things just so people don't get the wrong idea about me. But really, I want to be real. I don't want to hide behind a fake perfect blog world. Sometimes (or a lot until our recent changes) our house is a mess. Sometimes I am not a good mom. Sometimes I'm grumpy. Sometimes I don't do the things I know I should do. Dang it, I sin and I'm terribly imperfect and human!
We've decided to practice Lent or at least our own version of it this year. To give up or restrict some things that we feel like God is asking us to and spending the time getting to know Him better. This year, we are getting our family and our own hearts back on track with serving and following God wholeheartedly. It's been a rough journey and the last couple of years can be described with a few words. Isolation, distance, questioning, desert.
God breathed new life into our home on New Year's Day. It's personal and deep and a long tale for another day far away. But we are changed. And we are changing. From the inside out and sometimes the outside in.
One thing I have noticed that has crept into my life and overtaken it like overgrown ivy with the introduction and obsession our culture has with technology, is the internet and my time on my computer.
I have felt God prompting me for awhile to cut down on my usage, to set it aside and make better use of my time. I find that I can easily waste hours surfing the net for silly things, reading blogs, playing games with friends/family, etc. I even spend a lot of time blogging and/or worrying about what I write and if anyone reads it or cares. I am not the kind of mom I want to be when I spend a lot of time on the computer. I get snappier, don't always respond to my kids gently, don't spend as much time with them, etc.
In the evenings, there are SO many other things I could be doing with my time but I sit down for "a few minutes" to check email, facebook and blog and before I know it 2 hours have passed and I'm up too late and don't have time to do anything else. And if I'm up to late, I don't wake up early enough to spend any quiet time with God before my hectic day begins. Something I really need to do and want to make a habit of.
There you have it. Part of me wants to erase the last few paragraphs. I could make a few sentences sound rosier and make it sound "not quite so bad." But the truth is, it is bad. It's a bad thing for me to spend time, time I could be spending honoring God, loving my family, accomplishing things, on the computer that sucks me in like a vacuum.
I want to obey the oh-so gentle promptings of my loving God. I want to use this season to draw closer to Him and draw away from the things of this world. I want to be changed from the inside out and the outside in.
So, by writing these words that I cannot take back and yet desperately want to, I am making myself vulnerable (which is a really good thing to do sometimes!) and creating some accountability for myself.
I am going to be restricting my computer time a lot in the next month or so. I am going to choose one day a week to completely stay away from it, it will now be residing up in my bedroom instead of downstairs where it is so easily accessible (isn't that the way we like it these days?), and my times on the internet will be short and sweet. I guess Lenters take Sundays off so maybe I will be more relaxed that day but I don't know yet.
I just feel that this is something I really need to do to change my focus, my priorities, my time to honor my Lord.
Thanks for "reading," if you did and thanks for any and all encouragement and prayers as I hopefully grow during this time. Change is hard, darn it! I'd also love to hear if anyone else celebrates Lent and what they have given up in the past or are giving up?
And to leave you with a smile, one of Missy's new favorite toys...............
Can you guess who is in the box with her?
You guessed it! Baby Anna is tucked safely down in the box:) The box is usually her bed and gets dragged around the house and stuffed with my couch pillows and various blankets. It also makes a really fun play place for a 2 year old!