Search me, oh God, and know my heart…

Day 3 of Lent and I’m searching as I invite God to search me. I look for ways in which to best honor God’s ultimate sacrifice over the next 40 days. It’s easy to take so much time choosing the right things to abstain from that time flies by. Perhaps it is a stalling technique. Perhaps it is the perfectionist in me wanting to give up the “right thing” or add the “right thing”. But as we invite God into our hearts, minds and spirits this Lent, may we be able to discern what He is telling us to look it. I suppose the process of finding the true temptations to avoid comes with meditation that must go into pre-Lenten practices (I’ll have to take note of that for next year so as to not waste so much time! It snuck up on me this year!). In a late attempt, I perused an online resource for ways to better devote myself to the Lenten journey found here:. The author asks, What habits/tendencies of self-absorption do you need to tear yourself from? Where do I begin?  For starters, I must invite God into this process: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

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Sinner Share #4 – Self-absorption in my life comes in various forms:

Snacking
snacking
Some may think it’s a mindless, harmless hobby. For me, it’s being disobedient and ungrateful for God’s daily bread, turning it into a gluttonous, monotonous, comfort-filling habit. May I allow God’s grace to fill me more than any bag of chips ever could.

Road Rage
highway traffic
The devil certainly knows I’m vulnerable in a car. There’s something about other drivers’ and traffic that sends me to a dark place. It’s truly self-absorption in its worst form, thinking that no one can drive as I do and that everyone on the road is out to get me. It’s not about me! Help me to travel on the roads this Lent viewing every driver as a Brother or Sister and accepting it for what it is, no more, no less!

Marital Disputes
arguing
My husband’s #1 complaint about me is that I “get on him” too much. If I would just accept circumstances as I would a glass of spilled milk, I could shrug it off and move on. I am so self-righteous sometimes that I do get on my husband’s back constantly insisting that he gets things right more often. I’m a sinner and I fail all the time. I fail in my marriage when I don’t just love him instead of picking him apart. May I let our one true Judge take the reins and sit back and just love my husband.

TV
couch potato
It is a habit that keeps me from getting closer to God. The television steals my attention away from my devotionals, prayer time and being active in God’s name. It has a grip on me that lets me to sneak away from more pressing obligations. In small doses, almost anything is tolerable. Over indulgence leads to great sin! Take away my addiction to the viewing box and help me to use my time wisely and productively for our Christ.

James 3: 14-16 “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”

30-something share #4 – I often wonder how many other 30-something year olds are fretting about these issues. I’ve shared it before that in the North East, many Christians are nominal and don’t discuss these struggles, let alone blog about it! I’m in a funky age bracket in my faith where I can’t connect with moms (not having any children, of course) and those younger than me don’t share the marital piece. I have no right during Lent to ask God for anything, but I do seek Christian friends to walk with me down this reflective road.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

Return to me…

this lent repent

Day 2 of Lent and I’m already feeling challenged. I blogged about my TV addiction in one of my initial posts, so clearly I know that’s already something I need to be aware of as a fast throughout these forty days. As I sit here typing, the TV is silent, when it would typically offer a comforting buzz in the background. One small victory in the midst of a Christ who asks so much more.

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” – Joel 2:12. Return to me, come back to me, set your compass towards me, remember me, see me again. I think of all of the various ways I have turned from Christ and what it means today and for the rest of this Lenten season to turn towards Him. It’s not that hard to fathom…He asks us to put Him first in all we do. A simple yet daunting concept. Put Him before our rage, before our hunger and need to be right. Put Him before our work and savings and gossip. All of those things seem so trite as I watch the words spelled out here, but it feels like he’s asking me to give up everything.

And He is! And why can’t we? He did! The glory of redemption and His saving grace should be enough to have us throwing ourselves at His feet everyday. But that glory gets diminished in the midst of modern-day comforts, conveniences and selfishness. As I sit here, I text my husband as we argue about something stupid from the night before. All that needs to be said is, “I’m sorry, I love you, I didn’t mean it, please forgive me”. But I can’t text it for my foolish pride gets in the way – my need to be right and point out every imperfection. Part of my Lenten journey needs to be one of tolerance and acceptance as well.

This I pray:  I wish you a happy Lenten season. May the Lord lead us where we need to go through this 40 day journey. May He transform our hearts and minds to be more focused on letting go and letting God’s Spirit work through us. Help us to be real about our sins and our brokenness while we confess a true desire to be more like Him.

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Sinner share #4 – Lent is my favorite season in the Christian calendar. It forces me to take a deeper look at the ways I fall short and spend intentional time working harder to get back to my True North. As I consider the long road ahead, I am fearful and certain of failure. I hope to address my TV addiction and my swearing and to be more accepting of my husband. I pray that I may truly reject the devil and all his workings in the next 40 days.

James 4: 7-8 ” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded…”

30-something share #4- I wish I had more 30 something year old Christian friends to go through this Lenten journey with. Pastor Brian mentioned that it’s particularly challenging to find devoted Christians in the Northeast. I wonder why that is? Are we so bitter about the cold winter –which has been particularly snowy and cold this year–or are we sure we can go it alone? I know we can’t. Help me Lord to draw nearer to those who think and believe similarly over the next 6 weeks.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. “