Day 11-17

Bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been?  I may have been away but you’ll never know.  I am reassured by watching the stats on this site to know that most of you just check in at the end of the week when the cession email goes out. So I don’t feel so bad. If you beg me I’ll go daily this next week.

It’s been a good week of Lent observance for me. I am in a nice rhythm with my goal and finding the discipline and the sense of consistency flows into other parts of my living. The discipline factor has been really beneficial. Discipline in one area provides strength for other areas. It’s not perfect, but its been inspiring to have success so early.

I still believe the planning aspect was critical – if you want to “die to self” just a little, you’d better be aware of the cost. And if you don’t count the cost, you will find it very hard. So for those who are struggling at this point, take stock of where you have got to, why and why not and reset some targets. It’s about one day at a time more than it is about 40days and there are still more than half to go! What plan will take you forward tomorrow?

On the growth side, I believe there is still much to be learned. I think it is discipline and grace that has got me this far. What I am thinking will be important for the next period is to move beyond discipline to true sacrifice. I have not been afraid to cut myself some slack in this process as I have tried to be realistic about this. But now I think that to settle where I am at would not produce any more real growth. So I am wanting to move to a new level of sacrifice and dependence on God. Pray for me!

Where are you at with your Lent goal? Drop a comment with your experience and don’t forget to vote for the daily weekly update!

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6 Comments

  1. Reuben said,

    March 20, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    So here’s my question.I have found that with lent vows taken in the past there is a crictical mass point (normally about half way) of which discipline becomes habit. And habit is much more sustainable. So I ask, if it becomes habit, then does it qualify as “dying to self”? I remeber when I gave up coffee and junk food the year before – by half way my habits had changed so much that things become almost automatic, and dare I say a lot easier to manage the lentern vow.

    So if there is is a transition from discipline to habit – does one learn much past this point? Is there a point to continue? I do not believe that my previous lentern vows where small feats by any stretch of the imagination, but they become manageable and sustainable – even to the point when lent had finished, I had to work hard moving back to my original weight err I mean state.

    So if there is very little to learn post disciplie becomes habbit, do we hold on to the lessons before this transition phase, or shall we aim much higher with the initial lentern vows? Does a vow of coffee & lollies help me to become more Christ like to my family friends internally & externally of the church?

    Is the purpose of such lentern vows to rediscover ourself or to become more Christ like? The latter being way way way more harder. So in one’s self discovery do we think we bcome more Chirst like regardless wether we have or not? I have struggled for lentern vows for a couple of years becuase I have focused on Self discovery, not becoming Christ like. I suspect next year there will be an infinite number of lentern vows for me to choose from.

    I also suspect that these vows will hardly become habitual in 40 days.

  2. cessionite said,

    March 21, 2009 at 8:44 am

    This is a brilliant comment that gets right to the heart of the original post except its better! In my post, I suggested exactly this point – that discipline more than true sacrifice had played the biggest role so far in my Lent process. For me that means turning it up for the second half of Lent. I’ll say some more later, but lets have some other comments first.

  3. Jonesboy said,

    March 21, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Man that is a great comment. I suspect it comes down to the person. For some people discipline = spiritual growth! When I chose my Lent goal, I actually changed it at the last minute, because I was conscious of not picking something “easy” and also because I wanted to pick the thing that “hit me where I lived” the most. If you pick something that really challenges a behaviour or attitude that is at its core idolatry – basically anything that replaces God in our lives – then I think the smallest thing can be profoundly impacting. Its about asking what is the behaviour/attitude that needs reshaping and what is the fruit I am pursuing? So in relation to your question I’d say 3 things:

    1. Pick carefully – which is exactly what you’re saying

    2. If you (and I think cessionite is saying the same thing) have reached the limit of what discipline/willpower can achieve then seek to go beyond that – no reason not to modify a lent goal.

    3. Is there a discipline of engagement that would add to the mix? Like if you’re giving up TV, can the time be turned to devotional activity? Or if you’re giving up junk food, is there a generosity opportunity? The money saved going to people who don’t have real food. Something like that.

  4. Rachel said,

    March 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Do you ever have those moments when the same subject just keeps popping up and you start to wonder if God’s trying to tell you something…

    I read the original post (killing me not knowing who’s writing them btw!), and it got me thinking about the ‘point’ of lent for me. I’m not doing any lent commitment this year for a bunch of reasons that aren’t important here. But this post got me thinking if perhaps I shouldn’t pick up the whole lent thing part way through… like I said, the same thing keeps niggling me & popping up all over the place, so perhaps I should start listening!

    I’m still at a point where the whole purpose of lent hasn’t quite ‘clicked’ for me. But perhaps it’s starting to. I’ve given up lots of things for lent in the past, but they’ve been things that I’ve just wanted to change for good rather than something for a season. And then there was the year that I found a discipline of engagement rather than something to give up, but again, it was something for long term, not for a season. So I wasn’t sure that it was about lent at all, but about a general change in lifestyle.

    But this year I was considering giving something up but one reason I decided not to do it (one of many) was that it seemed to ‘just’ be about discipline, and I didn’t see the point. But perhaps that’s the very point. A lot of the things that aren’t where I’d like them to be at the moment seem to result from a lack of general discipline. So perhaps being disciplined about giving up this one thing would produce a general change where it became habit, but that would lead to ‘up-ing the goal’ so to speak. Maybe my discipline muscle could use a little work out and the lent period could be the perfect training ground.

    Sigh – don’t you wish you could tell God to stop talking to you sometimes! I’m sitting here finding it quite amusing that I was ignoring the prodding this post gave me, and then I get an email telling me I should take a look & perhaps comment. (apologies to that person if they were looking for a comment to add to the discussion rather than this rather self-focussed rambling!).

  5. cessionite said,

    March 21, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    This quote from CS Lewis, Mere Christianity was part of this week’s Lent readings. I added in a bit at the beginning and the end as it seemed to reflect the comments so far:

    “Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him…The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

  6. cessionite said,

    March 24, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Something Brett mentioned on Sunday stuck out here: the line between our temperament and our character. So tempermentally we may be more last minute – we don’t change that, we just learn to manage it. But at a character level we may be lazy or a procrastinator (for the wrong reasons) and this is something that perhaps can change. When we try to manage our temperament that is personal growth. When we try to manage our character, that is spiritual growth?

    Back to work. I am trying to manage procrastination.


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