Friday, April 5, 2013

Grading Lent

My view:

Still not the glorious spring green I had expected back on Ash Wednesday. That was when I wrote about how I wanted to spend my Lenten season, especially in light of the fact that I had barely gotten through Advent with my sanity.  I wanted Lent to be different.  In an effort to close that line of thought, let me share how it really went:

  1. Spiritual Discipline:  We made it almost all of the mid-week Lenten services, as well as the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services.  I'm very, very glad we added that to our schedule, even though it felt like too much at times. The Wednesday services were a reminder and a quiet respite, and even the kids liked going.  Good Friday may be my favorite service of the year.  AND I have generally kept up with my morning devotions.  Generally.  
  2. Physical Discipline:  Total Fail.  I need to re-read Why We Get Fat, which I think I said earlier.  Gary Taubes' idea is that carbs make you fat.  Maybe not you, but they make ME fat.  And they keep me from sleeping and give me stomachaches.  It's all true.  And while I've never gone back to bread unless it surrounds a Chick-fil-A sandwich, and I hardly eat potatoes, sugar is another story.  So this is a fail.  Especially with the Easter candy that now floats around my house, and into my mouth...
  3. A book:  Complete and utter fail.  I wanted to read Bonhoeffer.  I still haven't.  Haven't even put it on my Kindle.  Only 3/4 of the way through Les Miserables, for good measure, which I have been reading off and on since around Christmas.  (That book has the interesting quality of being put-off-able, meaning that I can set it down and pick it up two weeks later and understand exactly what is going on and yet somehow not feel one bit bad about leaving it aside for a while.)

I did, however, read Mike Breen's Building a Discipling Culture, as a result of my unexpected trip to Pawley's Island.  Given its subject matter--doing things the way Jesus did them in His earthly ministry--this book is almost a substitute.  And it was a great book to read, to boot!  (If you want to read a wonderful and inspiring story about an English minister, go here.)

One out of three.  That is a failing grade!  No spinning this--maybe I just aimed too high for Lent.  Nah.  But I did find some peace, and I wonder if I didn't make at least a little more room for God in my life. 

Someday those leaves will be green.  Someday soon.  And I'll keep trying to make room, and make peace.


Mary Prather said...

I think you are hard on yourself, but I get that, and I admire that you aim high. I think we are much alike, my friend.

If I look at what I don't accomplish I can be pretty down on myself. This is why it is good to have supportive friends who remind you of everything you DID accomplish during Lent. :-)

Cheryl said...

Oh, yes, my friend, we can both be hard on ourselves! And we will always tell the other one to stop it. Thank you!

But I thought that since I had said I would try to do these things, it would be useful to revisit them. Now I have to go finish eating the Easter candy so that there isn't any more in the house to tempt me!

John Fraser said...

So I have to wonder ... (and if I'm not allowed to do so stop reading here, because - well - you know me and you know my wonderings often end up places).

BUT. I have to wonder. I totally buy into your one out of three grade for yourself. No critique here.

But ... what would God have to say about your grade? Success on the spiritual discipline. Given that it was Lent and the Book of the Bible you spent a good portion of Lent pouring over was Jeremiah ... I think He'd give you a decent grade. Success.

As for the carb thing ... well, who am I to judge? I honestly can't - and am in no place to even if I could. So I won't presume to speak on this one.

Now for the more interesting one. The book. I hear you say that you did not measure up to your standard. But what if God said to you, "Your standard and my standard just didn't agree?" What if the Kingdom of God broke into your life and whether consciously or not you were caught up in that moment? What if BDC was the book God wanted you to read? You certainly seemed to enjoy it. You also seemed to get a ton out of it. No offense to Bonhoeffer (because I love his witness to God through his life), but had you read Bonhoeffer instead, would you think as differently about God's calling to your life as you do having read BDC? Or perhaps having read BDC you are more prepared to read Bonhoeffer?

For what it is worth. I respect your 1 of 3 self-evaluation. According to your goals, that is fair. But I think God might like to give you a 2 of 2 regarding His goals for you in Lent. And I'll leave the third category between you and Him where it ultimately belongs anyway.

On a different topic, I completely hear you on that whole "eating all the candy so it's gone" theory. I tell myself that every time. Just eat it all up so it can quit being a temptation. Somehow it never really works that way. You would think as much willpower as I can display in some areas of my life that eating would be no different. Ha! Oh well.