Ash Wednesday came and went without me “giving anything up”. I had several things in mind beforehand, but honestly I dedicated almost no time and no prayer to figuring out what God might be calling me to give up to be closer to Him/Her.
In terms of my spiritual life this laziness was rather irresponsible don’t you think?
Just say yes. Don’t be nice and let me off the hook. Or extend me grace. Or anything of that sort.
That same week on Friday night I got away to a bookstore for some solo time, during which many issues in my life started to become more clear in pointing to a great deal of irresponsibility on my part.
For the last few years (or my whole life depending on how I look at it) I have can see how I have grown incredibly self-absorbed and irresponsible. I have done things that were comfortable for me, and avoided most things that were not. Most importantly for the past year my personal time with God has been a bit of a joke.
Sure I read my Bible each day. I have a rule that I can’t check Facebook or Instagram or my Google reader before reading the Bible. The thing is though that I now read my Bible SO that I can get on Facebook or look at your cute pictures on Instagram. After reading the Bible I hardly ever spend time praying or simply sitting in God’s presence. The only legit spiritual exercise I get is in keeping an ongoing list of God’s gifts and graces that I am thankful for each day. How irresponsible to spend the year I was becoming a parent focused mostly on myself, and not seeking after God.
As I pondered my spiritual life on Friday night it also became clear how much the rest of my life is out of whack by my irresponsibility.
For instance here are some examples, but by no means exhaustive list, of the ways I am incredibly irresponsible: I don’t take my spiritual life serious enough. I don’t pay enough attention to my bills to always pay them on time. I am terrible about responding to emails within even a week. I am really bad at responding to text messages, sometimes replying a day or more late. I am bad about calling my friends to ask them to hang out with me (but am upset when it seems that my friends never reach out to spend time with me). I don’t send thank you cards out on time. I let mechanical issues fester with my car for months (or years) before getting them fixed. I spend way too much time watching Netflix now that I am on maternity leave. I eat out so often that cooking at home feels exotic. I have created countless budgets for Phillip and I and stuck to none of them…ever. I have withheld my true thoughts and feelings often on this blog for fear of how some people may react. I have avoided tough conversations with people just because. I have put off applying for my LCSW for five months, even though I really need the raise I will get at work when I obtain it…
So yeah you get the idea.
As I became more and more convicted of this that Friday night I realized that my irresponsibility is what I need to give up this Lent. My irresponsibility in not spending time with God and in not being a good steward over all the relationships and responsibilities He/She has placed in my life.
So far Lent this looks like me giving up Netflix so I have more time to be present with God, my family, friends, and life responsibilities. It also looks like me beginning all those “thank you” notes I need to write for all the gifts we have received for Samuel.
It will also mean me opening up more on this blog about my birth, my difficult/emotional pregnancy, and some things about my friendships and my church that I have really been struggling with over the past year.
Here’s to seeing God more clearly through my mess. I pray the same for you during this season.