23 Days into Lent = Fail

Here it is…5 a.m. and I’m up and on the computer well before my usual time.

Driven from bed by a mind that wouldn’t quiet once awakened, I welcome the solitude of an alone awakening.

I need this opportunity to be silent before God and to reflect upon where I am and why I am…and how I got here.

My jaw clenches and I am unaware until a dull ache begins in my left ear and extends along my jaw, toward my chin.

I’m angry.  Tense. Stressed. Tired.

Here I am 23 days into Lent and I find myself off track…way off track.  Hey, I’ll be honest – I’ve jumped track.

I’m supposed to be seeking to please God and not people.  I’ve got the “not people” thing down as far as “other” people go.  But, I’ve slipped into pleasing myself…doing what seems right in my own eyes instead of doing what is right in God’s eyes.

Wow.  There’s only one word to describe my Lenten experience at this moment.

FAIL

I’m halfway into Lent and I’ve run myself off track and about as far away from the goal as I could possibly be.  I’ve turned from God’s way to my own.

In my boundary setting, I allowed myself the luxury of anger.  It was easy to adopt a “serves them right” attitude as I took steps to distance myself from negative, stress-filled, idiotic situations and the people who perpetrate and perpetuate them.

Pleasing myself became more important than pausing to see what would please God.

I would be the master of my destiny, the ruler of my kingdom. Forget what people thought…or if they even liked my thoughts, words, or me. They would respect me and would not dare encroach upon me or mine with their stupidity…. I would rule.

What an angry, self-centered ruler I am.

For the past week my focus has been on pleasing myself.  How did I get so far afield…?

Perhaps I focused on what I felt instead of what I should be feeling.

Perhaps I focused on self and not on God.

For whatever reason(s), I went astray.

All we like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned – every one – to his own way. But, the Lord has laid on him the iniquity (sins) of us all. Isaiah 53:6.

This morning, as I sat up in bed and swung my feet over the edge, my mind cried out for relief.

“I want to let go of it!” she cried out in the darkness.

I’m tired…tense…stressed…angry…confused and uncertain.  So much is coming at me that I cannot process it before the next surge.  I feel like a child caught in the surf.  One wave hits and knocks me off balance and then before I can right myself and get my footing, another comes along and takes me down. And, while I’m down, another pounds down upon me….

My focus is so intent on all that’s swirling around me…all the concerns I carry…that I cannot still myself and focus on the One I need to see.

Anger is my reaction.  Love should be my action.

Forgive me, Father, for my righteous indignation.  You alone are righteous and you alone have the right to become indignant. Forgive me for my anger and for seeking my will and not Yours. Forgive my anxious thoughts and my lack of faith. Bless me with Your forgiveness…Your peace, for I have sinned against you…I know this and I am deeply sorry and repent.

Repent – that means to turn around and go the other way.

Peace – that was our pastor’s sermon Sunday.  God’s peace. I took copious notes…wonderful notes and watched in dismay as my ipad deleted them .  I need those notes this morning.

I need God’s peace.

Wait…I have God’s Spirit within me.  God’s Spirit – the Comforter – the Teacher who brings all things we’ve learned of God and from His word to mind.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7 NLT)

God’s peace begins at the cross of Jesus.

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