my Lenten experiment and the success and failures that went with it…

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I didn’t grow up observing Lent.
My family loved Jesus,
we celebrated His resurrection on Sunday morning
in our twirly new Easter dresses,
and we often spent the weekend with our cousins.
Easter, I knew.
Lent, not so much.

As my friend, Ernesto, said last night,
“Isn’t it wonderful that as adults,
we can choose our own traditions?”

Yes.

After several years of reading about Lent,
I decided to try it for myself.

I failed.

Miserably.

Yes, I did keep my sacrifice,
No, I did not keep my heart.

Then he said,
“Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture:
‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’
For I have come to call not those who think
they are righteous,
but those who know they are sinners.”
Matthew 9:13

I am a very good rule follower.
Give me a rule
and watch me follow it to the end.
And, if I perceive a reward at the end,
watch out!
I will keep your rule
regardless of who or what gets in my way.

When the clamor of the internet
got to be too much,
I used the Lenten season as a time
to rest from my blog…
from social media…
from the noise.

I deleted apps,
unfollowed sites,
and used facebook and instagram for family only
until I had one page of apps on my phone.

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My self-imposed rule felt really good…
quiet and peaceful.

And then I got sick.
Really sick.
CMV and the month of March in bed.

I whined.
I cried.
I was mad.

Mostly at God.

I gave up for Him,
and He let me get sick??

Late one evening, not so long ago,
surrounded by the four I love the most,
I heard my man read these words…

Jesus replied,
“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right
when he prophesied about you,
for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as
commands from God.’
For you ignore God’s law
and substitute your own tradition.”
The he said,
“You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order
to hold on to your own tradition.”
Mark 7:6-9 (nlt)

These words cut me to the core
and I think He seared them to my heart that night.

I kept my man made rule to perfection,
and on the fortieth day of Lent yesterday,
I realized that I sacrificed nothing
and failed miserably at keeping His commandments.

True sacrifice…zero.
Truly honoring God…zero.

Yet, today is the day set aside to remember
the greatest sacrifice EVER given…
the Lamb of God,
spotless and pure,
freely offered for me.

Jesus knew I couldn’t do it,
so He did it for me.

His success covers my failures
perfectly.