Sometimes I Think

Sometimes in the quiet of the morning, before everyone is awake, I give myself time to think. Sometimes my thoughts wander to what I need to do that day. Sometimes I think about a book I’m editing. Sometimes I think on a deeper level and look inside myself.

Sometimes I find that my mind is focused on the wrong things. Maybe I allow the small stuff to take up residence in my head and heart because it’s easier to face than the hard stuff—the things that really matter.

Recently, I forced myself to take a step back and ask what is really worthy of my time and energy. This was very freeing; once I realized how much I was allowing myself to be emotionally drained by the petty things and decided to let them go, it was like coming up for air after being underwater for too long.

So, who/what is worthy of the space in my head?

  • My son and how we need to address his social anxiety and Tourette syndrome. The road ahead of us as we start the process of having him assessed for Asperger’s syndrome. His future. He deserves to be on my mind.
  • How to meet the needs of my younger son who is gifted in many areas. I feel like I fall short when it comes to encouraging and nurturing his growth in these areas. He also deserves space in my head.
  • My health. I’ve always been blessed with good health, but ever since my dad died and I lost my job, my health—physical and mental—has not been a priority. Depression will do that. I need to make changes.
  • My marriage. God knows I am far from the ideal wife. My husband deserves the best of me and I haven’t given that to him for a long time. Again, changes.
  • My friends who are struggling. Those I care about who are sick, have sick children, can’t make ends meet, who are grieving… they are worth it.

And who/what is not worthy of the space in my head?

  • People who don’t deserve to be there. Those who act like friends when they want or need something but will toss that “friendship” aside when it suits them.
  • Undeserved low opinions from people I don’t know and who don’t know me. I like to be liked… I admit that, but there are people will never like who and what I am. Wondering why and having my feelings hurt? Not worth it.
  • Grudges. I’ve never been much of a grudge holder. I forgive and move on easily. Every once in a while, though, something will happen and I enjoy disliking someone who hurt me. Is it worth my energy? Not at all.
  • Unhealthy criticism of myself. I am much harder on myself than I am on others. If I feel like I did something wrong or let someone down, I will beat myself up over it. It’s time to give myself the same grace I extend to others.

And now? I think I’m done writing this post.

My First Lent

Technically, it’s my 40th Lent, but it’s the first one I’ve ever observed.  As a product of a Baptist-heavy nondenominational upbringing, Lent was always a “Catholic thing”.  Now that I’m working for a Free Methodist church-based school, I’m learning that Lent is more than just a Catholic practice… other Christian denominations observe it, as well.

What is Lent?  Well, I’m no Lenten scholar but my understanding of it is this:  Lenten is the season between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday (approximately 40+ days).  It is a time to identify with Christ’s suffering, the time He spent fasting in the desert.  During this time, He was tempted by Satan to use His position as the Son of God to test God’s faithfulness and provision.  Of course, Jesus did not give in to the temptation…  but it was 40 days of  self-denial.

Participating in Lent is not something you’ll find mandated in the Bible.  In fact, the practice of it didn’t begin until a few centuries after the death and resurrection of Christ.  Like other practices and traditions, its practice is more symbolic and acts as a tool to bring us closer to God through prayer and study of scripture.

Usually, during the Lenten season, participants give up something.  It can be dietary sacrifice, such as giving up meat,  sugar, or caffeine.  Others may give up watching TV or listening to secular music.  What is sacrificed is usually  something that is important to the individual and is something they feel will bring them closer to the Lord in its absence.

I know a few people who are giving up Facebook for Lent (what does that say about our culture today?!).  My sister-in-law is giving up sugary drinks.  Several people at the school where I teach are turning either vegan or vegetarian for 40 days (including my carnivorous, hunter-fisherman brother).   I am giving up all my Facebook games.  No Farmville… no Cityville… no Petville… no Frontierville… no “villes” at all.

Why?  Are my Facebook games evil?  No, but they are time-consuming.  It doesn’t matter how quickly I think I’m going to harvest my crops or collect rent, I always end up spending too much time there.  Time that could be much better spent doing… well… just about anything.  The pastor of my home church recently did a sermon on how we spend the time God has given us.  I felt justifiably convicted by this sermon.  I figured Lent would be a good time to see how my life (in all aspects, including spiritually) might be improved if I spent my time more wisely.

How is it going?  So far, so good.  I’m not missing my games too much and I’ve been more productive.  I’ve even had time to write up this blog on Lent!   I now know more about Lent than I did before… there’s the spiritual growth.

Are you participating in Lent?  If so, what are you sacrificing and how is it going?