Well, we’re about two weeks into Lent. How are those disciplines going so far, folks?
Getting any easier?
Some of us have probably already blown it on whatever we set out to do or not do, back on February 22. (One friend of mine declared he’d give up gluttony, then proceeded to scarf down three sizable cookies immediately after the Ash Wednesday service. Doh!)
I know I’ve certainly dropped the ball many times on my promise to give up self-reliance. Guess I have to try harder (oops; there I go again). This discipline stuff is hard – I guess that’s why they call it discipline.
Even if you haven’t fallen short on your Lenten Vow, maybe you’re running out of enthusiasm for the task. Maybe your daily Bible reading, or extra prayers, feel more like cramming for a test or babysitting a tedious child than they do like enriching quality time with your Best Friend.
And whether you’ve broken your vow entirely, or you’ve slipped into a going-through-the-motions rutt, I bet you’re tempted to beat yourself up about it.
First of all, Lent isn’t even half-over, so there’s plenty of time to get back on the horse (or the wagon, if your fast involves alcohol). God isn’t interested in us having a flawless record on a particular discipline during the 40 days of Lent, he wants us to use this time (or any other) as an opportunity to move closer to him, and stay there.
Today is the first day of the rest of your Lent!
Secondly, I don’t think God is mad at you for failing; I think He’s proud of you for trying! In Mark 14:36, Jesus calls God ‘Abba Father.’ Abba is the Aramaic word for father, but I’ve heard it described as a term of affection – papa, for example.
For the record, I don’t think Jesus is the only one who gets to call him Abba. You don’t have to be the Son of God to call Him Daddy. The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t start, ‘Our creator, who art in heaven,’ after all.
And as I’ve mentioned before, the first time someone pointed out that God wants us to call him Daddy, it was a watershed moment for me in my faith journey.
‘If God invites us to call him Daddy, maybe he loves us the way we love our children when they’re toddlers,’ I reasoned. ‘When your one-year-old is learning to walk and she takes a step, then falls flat on her fanny, you’re not frustrated with her failure to take two steps; you’re elated that she managed to take one! “That’s my girl!” you bellow as you scoop her up in your arms, shower her with kisses and tell you how proud you are of her. That’s the way we love our toddlers, and we’re imperfect humans with a frail, crude human hearts; how much greater is our heavenly father’s love for, and pride in, us?!?’
If the last few paragraphs feel a bit familiar, that’s because I lifted them verbatim from my second Disciplehood post, Goosebumps – published back in October 2010. I think God wants me to highlight them for my reader(s) who are struggling with Lent and feeling bad about it.
And I’m happy to oblige. This epiphany is just too awesome to confine to one post. I’m not bragging, because these words didn’t come from me.
They came from Daddy.
Peace be with you.