Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Season of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday. It begins the 40 day liturgical season of prayer and fasting before Easter. As Catholics, we're called to sacrifice. My kids and I struggle every year with what we're "going to give up." Last year Austin said that he was giving up ice cream. Sounds good. But then I thought about it. "Austin, how often do we eat ice cream? That's not really a sacrifice, is it?" I am very good at pointing out the hang-ups in my children's Lenten sacrifices. But what did I give up last year? Uhmmm, nothing. Yep friends, I'm a hypocrite.

I gave up chocolate one year and I was a complete and nasty witch. I tried to give up pop one year. But the headaches were awful. I could try to give up smoking. But I don't even want to think how miserable everyone would be around here. So everyone can forget that. Decisions, decisions.

As I typed this post I began to think about some changes that I could make. Make the necessary changes to be a better person. I opened my bible today. It fell open to Psalm 50: The Acceptable Sacrifice. I kid you not! Verse 14-15 says: "Offer praise as your sacrifice to God; fulfill your vows to the Most High. Then call on me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall honor me."

I remembered this morning that God already knows my heart. He already knows my fears and His plan for my life is laid out before me. He already knows what I will ask of Him. But I have to remember that while my God is a merciful God, St James reminds us that faith without works is dead. (James 3:26 - "For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." It is not enough that I have faith in God and in His merciful nature. I must change the way I view the world and others. I am turning my problems, fears and worries over to God this morning. He will deliver me from them. And I will praise God and bring Him glory.

Lenten Thought for the Day: Do something kind for someone anonymously.

22 comments:

Alice said...

Sounds as though you're figuring it out for yourself quite well, Julie. Really, it is all right there for us to see, isn't it?

Rosie's Whimsy said...

The Psalm 50 verses go well with my revisiting of my gratitude journal. I had one years ago and then life happened and it fell through the cracks. Tracy at Pink Purl has been having a word challenge every other Sunday. The last one prompted me to start again. To look, listen and praise for all the little things that can so easily be passed by. Great post, my friend :-)

From the Doghouse said...

So, have you decided what (if anything) you're giving up?

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

Hi Julie,

What a beautiful reminder to lay down our worries and our fears. It's not easy to do and I needed that reminder. Words to my heart. Thank you for that.

Hugs,
Dena

Supermom said...

Julie,Julie, Julie....oh my goodness....
you wrote that post for me. You didn't know it at the time, but you did.

I'm a bit speechless right now.

Anita said...

Great post...you always give me something to think about!

I gave up smoking two years ago, picked it back up after the tornado, then quit again in August when I came down with pneumonia...

I think instead of giving up something physical, the one thing that I need to give up is...
Trying to have control over everything. Nothing bothers me more than not being in control, but then - of course - we're not really in control of anything, are we?

Dolly said...

Thank you for writeing this post Julie! Its perfect!

I gave up meat one year...that was hard! Pop, candy, junk food, those were all easy! The meat was hard, I craved hamburgers!
For 5 years in a row hubby fasted for 40 days!
The longest I have fasted was 3 days!
If you find it hard to give up something then maybe you can fast...
there are many ways to fast!
You can fast from dusk til dawn, or til noon each day! ETC.

Have a blessed day,
Hugz, Dolly

melissa @ the inspired room said...

Oh, my, decisions decisions! I'll refrain from offering my suggestions. Pray about it and I am sure God will speak to you. Love you!

Blessings to you, dearest,

Melissa

Brenda said...

I sure would hate to think about it. April had a teacher one time that gave up Potatoe chips. That would be hard.
I have been TRYING to do WW so I can only imagine what it would be like.
Best of luck girl..I know you will figure it all out.

BittersweetPunkin said...

Thank you Julie....My hubby tried to give up all processed sugar...that didn't last very long..
Hugs,
Robin

Terri and Bob said...

I don't do well with giving up but I took a different route this year: I am giving up my personal time to work with an adult reading program at the library. This works quite well with me and I have a feeling this will outlast Lent.

PAT said...

Wonderful wonderful post, Julie!!

Your post reminds me...J is in Knights of Columbus and each Friday through Lent, they host a fish fry. Being retired, this year, I see J doing some fish frying on his team's night. When he was working, he'd go to the hall directly from work. Which meant he would be too late for frying, which is what he loves to do. His job was usually serving or doing carry outs. We'll be in line this coming Friday night. Not sure if we'll stay there or bring carry outs home.

I can't believe how this year has flown by!

Pat

collard green queen said...

So glad you are back..I think your readers were ready to all chip in to buy you a new computer just to get you back online...great post today!

Counting Your Blessings said...

Sacrifices of thanksgiving... because sometimes it really is hard to be thankful for a situation but He, as you said, wants sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. OH, control is always one of my downfalls!! With you on this one. Blessings... Polly

Kristen said...

Ohhhh how true! Don't you just love the Bible is just always there with a very perfect word for what we are going through, need, or simply long for! I just love it! It is good to be back!!

joan said...

Good post Julie and some good verses to remember. Thanks for sharing.

lori said...

what a verse!!
I too struggle with 'giving up' .........i know i need to DO more, not to earn favor, but in graditude for the favor that hung on a cross!!

here's to being 'better women in Christ' when the 40 days are over....

what a heart you've got girl!
hugs,
lori

justabeachkat said...

I'm giving up carbs, even my beloved wine! I can and will do this!!! Yes ma'am I will.

Hugs!
Kat

Sharon said...

What a great post. I don't practice lent, but it sounds like a great idea. For me to truly suffer would be give up coffee or diet Pepsi, but the worst would be giving up blogging!

I love the scripture you found!

Blessings! Sharon

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a wonderful post....Sometimes what we seek the most is right in front of us!
Penny

Cottage Contessa said...

Wonderful post Julie! Have a lovely day sweetie!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

Esther Sunday said...

Stop pressuring yourself about blogging!!! We love you. Esther