Today is Ash Wednesday. To some of you, that means “The Day After Paczki and/or Pancake Day”. To some of you, that means seeing some silly people walk around with ashes on their head, looking like they just threw some more coal on the fire, wiped their forehead, and haven’t looked in the mirror yet. But to some of you, and to me, it means the beginning of Lent. It’s the beginning of 40 days of self-reflection achieved by prayer and sacrifice. It’s a deliberate effort toward answering the question: what can bring me closer to God? It takes me to the brink of crazy every year and I almost always come just short of giving up church for Lent.
Catholic churches distribute these “Little Black Books” right before Lent, but they aren’t as much fun as they sound. They are readings and suggested prayers designed to help you with your journey. At the front of your Little Black Book, you are supposed to write your Lenten Promise and goals. I had it all figured out. My goal was to investigate and follow through with this interest in feeding people that God has given me. From feeding my family, to anyone who visits our home, to anyone who is hungry. Hunger of any sort gets under my skin – it drives me crazy and I want to solve it.
Very much to my surprise (although at this point in my life, the fact that God uses a different planner than I do should not shock me in any way), these were not the plans God had for me. His plans were to deal with my crap. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? And what does that mean, anyway? It means clutter. The junk that clutters up my brain, my house, my body. I read recently that clutter represents unmade decisions. Hellll00000 conviction! Put that way, I am a mess of unmade decisions. I have analysis paralysis – I think too much, but that’s not really the problem. I think too much so I don’t have to make a decision. “I’m still trying to decide. Still gathering information. Still trying to figure out the best way to go”. Lean not into your own understanding.
I had a lovely Lenten goal brewing in my head with ideas for a blog post to match. Links to hunger associations I would support; ideas I had. These are respectable, doable, blogable goals. What God has in store for me though is less tangible – but who am I to disagree? I look forward to the next 40 days as I learn more about what He wants me to deal with. It’s a little unsettling, but in a way, that’s exactly what Lent is about. Moving out of my comfort zone, and being confident that where God has placed me is where He wants me.
This post was submitted to the “What are you doing for Lent Carnival” hosted by Kitchen Stewardship.