Luke 18: 14
“For anyone who exalts him/herself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles him/herself will be exalted.”
It’s Lent again. Those of us who observe the liturgical seasons of the church calendar might be contemplating what to give up. I know I have. Chocolate? No. All television? No, not all. Coffee? Have already cut back. Complaining? That might be helpful. Facebook? A lot of people I know are signing off, and that was a top contender for me as well, but no.
Rather than deprive myself of something I enjoy, it’s easier to think of Lent as a time to tune out the noise. Eliminate the distractions. Prepare for Easter. The suffering and the sacrifice of Jesus should be the primary focus for Christians during this time. If I don’t take time to reflect on what he went through and why, then Easter doesn’t carry much weight for me. Some people attend Lenten services to prepare themselves for Easter. That won’t be possible for me this year, but I have a plan to do something else.
After much deliberation, I have decided to tune out my favorite doctor. From 3 to 4 p.m. every weekday, Dr. Phil very nicely tells his guests precisely what they need to do to get out of their mess. Then I’m glad I’m in no such predicament and pat myself on the back. Wait. Although I’m sure Dr. Phil has the best intentions for his guests, I’m turning into a Pharisee.
Anytime I look at someone else and am glad that I’m not suffering the way they are due to their own bad choices, I become the Pharisee that Jesus describes in Luke chapter 18:9-14. This kind of pride prevents me from learning more about God, and this has got to stop. As if that wasn’t bad enough, then I have the audacity to be angry because I don’t have the time to read more scripture. So I ask myself, “How is that you have time for Dr. Phil every afternoon, but no time for God any afternoon?” Goodbye Dr. Phil. Hello Jesus.
I want to make a commitment to meditate and write about what I believe God is teaching me on certain scriptures. I am challenging myself to dig deeper and post something every Wednesday during Lent. Already, this feels daunting because my 5-month old consumes almost all my time, but I refuse to use my son as an excuse to stop writing.
Giving up something in and of itself does not make me holier. It’s about the process. I need to be willing to let go of that which hinders me from drawing closer to the Holy One.