an exercise.

February 17, 2010

i remember reciting prayers before meals and bedtime growing up. i remember spottily attending the youth group at church. i remember the big, beautiful flower wreath i wore on my head as i received my first communion. i remember resting my feet on the kneeling pad during mass because they didn’t reach the floor. and i remember eating fish on fridays during lent. i didn’t have a particularly religious or spiritual childhood, but there were a few traditions that etched themselves into my mind – lent more than any other.

i have given up a number of things for lent over the years, most of them the obvious and popular choices like coffee, sweets, and dairy. each year that i chose to let something go for the lenten season it was with the honest hope that their absence, and my longing for them, would redirect my thoughts to God, and more specifically the sacrifice Jesus made for me. sometimes it happened, sometimes the denying would truly turn my thoughts and heart towards Christ. but, sadly, my efforts were often ineffective…the exercise transforming into a personal test of will rather than a spiritual practice of drawing near to my God.

as this day has drawn near i have wondered, questioned, and considered what i would choose this year. i have debated, in the privacy of my own head and journal, giving up certain luxuries and comforts – with the honest hope that their absences, and my longing for them, would redirect my thoughts to God. i have written lists of possible items to deny myself these next forty days. i have cynically weighed the option of doing nothing, doubting whether the exercise would benefit my life [and faith] at all.

last night, i spoke at INN. i spoke of sacrifice, of letting something go in order to draw near to God. i read romans 12:1 to a couple hundred students and challenged them to consider what in their lives might need to be sacrificed. and somewhere in the middle, somewhere between my opening jokes and my concluding prayer, one single word wiggled its way into my mind. when i got home last night, i opened my journal and wrote the word down: remember. as i woke up this morning, to a gloriously sunny day, this word remained oddly in the front of my mind.

this lent i’m not going to refrain from coffee and inevitably talk about how dearly i miss it. i’m not going to give up sweets, secretly hoping that lent will lend itself to the shedding of a few pounds. i am not going to give up anything. well except, i suppose, some time. instead, i am going to choose something. i am going to choose to remember. each day i will practice the act of remembering where, how, and when i have been blessed to catch a glimpse of the good, beautiful, and perfect God [whom i believe exists] alive in this world. i may need to reach back a decade, i may simply need to reach as far back as a few hours, but each day i will remember a moment or a season of seeing and knowing God alive in this world.

and as i remember i will hope, honestly hope, that as i do my mind and heart will be redirected to God, and specifically to the sacrifice Jesus made for me.

and i will write them down. and i will share them here. for a few reasons: discipline, accountability, and because it shouldn’t be just for me. so, if you are one of the two or three people reading this blog…here we go.

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2 Responses to “an exercise.”

  1. christine everson said

    i’ll be reading lisa, because i think i might need to remember as well. i love you and am excited to see this exercise in practice.

  2. mitchell said

    can’t wait.

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