I decided to participate in Lent this year. Never having done it before, I read up on it. I like the idea that it wasn't just about giving up something. It's meant as a cleaning out time. A time to repent for those things that have cluttered life up and time to reflect on making God center again. For me, certain things had become big time wasters, the biggest of all . . . Facebook.
Yet, still interested in my cyber friend’s lives, I set some ground rules.
#1 No posting or making comments. My postings had become a place for me to vent my frustrations and instead of venting, I seriously need to learn to deal with those frustrations. (And just for the record, my blog post automatically to Facebook, I have kept my goal to not interact until after Easter.)
#2 No having Facebook on in the background anymore when I’m working on the computer. Funny how projects that used to take me an hour have now been reduced to half that time since I no longer have that crutch of a distraction for when I get stuck. Now when stuck, I'm forced to resort to Dori the fish's wisdom of "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." and it works.
#3 I can log onto Facebook on Sunday afternoon to deal with notifications and all that garbage stuff people like to send me. I’ve been able to do that. I log on, clean out a few things, then get back off. Yet, there are times when I just want to check... you know?
#4 I can only check status updates of my friends twice a day from my phone.
This had been the kicker, and the one I’ve struggled with most. My little phone provides endless entertainment when I’m stuck waiting somewhere. And only checking updates only twice has been hard. This seems like such a little thing, but it seems to be the norm for my life.
Thing is, I seem to fail more than I succeed. Even when I tried a simple one day fast. Then I'm left feeling pathetic about my ability to stay strong.
I came across a friends blog that talked about failing and how His grace is there for us when we aren’t strong enough to do it on our own. This is something important I think fasting and Lent does for us; it shows us that we can’t do it on our own, that we need His help, His grace, His forgiveness.
I’m so grateful for His grace, but…
The other day I was talking to another friend about how I wanted my words to mean something. That I wanted to be able to say what I mean and mean what I say and not be so wishy-washy. I’m tired of being tossed about on stormy waters and feeling helpless against it. I realized that what it boils down to is having integrity. Something I feel I’m lacking in at times.
This friend said that it starts with little victories beginning with me. I tell myself I want to do something, then I do it. Still, there will be some things I simply can’t do on my own. That’s where I need to invite God in. Lord, I know I need to do this and I’m struggling. Please come beside me and help me along. I need your grace, and your strength to see this through.
Yes His grace covers me. But that’s no excuse for continually allowing myself to fail time and again. Because then I end up making agreements with the enemy that I’m not good enough. That I’m weak. That I’m a failure. And it’s simply not true.
I’m a child of the King. I’ve been bought by the blood of Christ. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I’ve failed, but I’m not beaten. I’ll try harder and mean what I say and say what I mean. As I learn to do it for myself and my God, it’ll permeate all parts of my life and eventually, others will see that I am a person of integrity. That is what I want more than anything else in my life.
Father, help my words mean something. Help my heart beat strong with determination to walk out the hard things in my life. You promise to make my paths straight. You promise that in You, there is nothing that's impossible for me. Thank you for Your grace, Your understanding and forgiveness. But I want to learn how to stand firm. Help me to follow through with the challenges and choices I face in my daily life. Amen.
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