04 April 2014

Mid-Lent Check-in: Some Confessions

As most of you know, I love Lent. I love early spring and foggy mornings and little flowers bursting out of the mud. But, I must confess, this Lent has been a major letdown so far. After patiently trudging through a truly awful winter, I simply cannot abide this cold anymore. Every night I go home and immediately curl up under a blanket. I consider getting up to go do something, but the idea of pulling on layers of leggings, heavy boots and my shapeless parka is too much for me after all these months. Each morning I check the weather with trepidation and see that, for the bajillionth day in a row, it will be cold for my walk to work and the temp will not rise above 60 the whole day. It's April, is 70 degree weather really too much to ask?!

But even as I sit here filled with indignation, I confess that I know I'm just being selfish. The seasons are not here to make me happy; they have more important things to do. The lack of warmth this far into spring is not some sort of personal affront. The weather is the weather and there's nothing I can do about it.

However, I'm still feeling grumpy and uninspired. I wish I could just shake it off and write something awesome, but I fear I'll need to feel the sun on my face and smell the grass before creativity will flow again. In lieu of something creative, here's a mid-Lent check-in. I confess I haven't been at 100% with all of them, but I'm trying and that's what counts.

No Screen Sunday
Of all my Lenten disciplines, this has been both the hardest and the most rewarding. I sometimes find myself going absolutely stir-crazy by the end of the day. Especially since it's been cold and rainy and I haven't wanted to go outside. But I have also felt a deep sense of gratitude as I move through my life more slowly. That's what I feel like taking the screens away has done: slowed me down. I'm no longer doing three things at once (watching a show on my computer, cleaning my room and checking Instagram on my iPhone) but rather focusing on one task. It makes me think of my Amish relatives and how part of the reason they drive buggies instead of cars is that buggies give them the opportunity to see God's creation as they amble down the road. On no screen Sunday, I'm blessed to slow down and pay attention.

Fasting Wednesday
Fasting Monday became Fasting Wednesday when I found out that others from my church would be fasting on Wednesdays. Each Wednesday at 12:30 a handful of us call into a conference line and pray together. While I haven't found the fasting itself super-meaningful, I'm loving the chance to pause in the middle of my day and pray.

One Hour of At-Home Productivity Everyday
This one has been super helpful for my life. Even though the cold has driven me to mostly tackle things that I can accomplish while under a blanket, I've been happy with how much I've been able to get done. I rearranged my room, did a bunch of dishes, ran errands in the neighborhood, went through some of my storage and so much more. It hasn't been easy to keep this up as a daily practice, but I've been doing pretty well.

Read Everyday
In an unexpected turn of events, this has been the most difficult of all my disciplines to keep up with. I started out so strong, though! I read Ann Lamott's Travelling Mercies and Farenheit 451 in the first week. But then I didn't find another book that captured my interest. I've been half-heartedly reading a few pages of various things most every night, but nothing that I'm excited about. This week I've started reading Genesis because I've never sat down and read through the whole Old Testament narrative before, so I thought I'd give it a try. If you've got a great book you think I should read, please let me know!

As we move closer to Easter, I am praying for hope. I am praying for eyes to see the new thing God is doing. I am praying for my faith in springtime and warmth to return. Just as our God is faithful, so is this beautiful earth. She will burst forth with life and color and warmth just as surely as the sun rose this morning, I just have to hold out hope until she is ready.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
~Isaiah 43:19

Cold and rainy as it's been, at least the flowers are starting to bloom.

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