So growing up, my denomination didn’t practice Lent. Or more specifically, we did not practice “giving ‘something up” from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. So I’d only recently, as an adult, been exposed to the practice. I actually did it the past several years. Well, sort of. I said I was giving something up, and I may or may not have done a good job of it.
I did not spend a lot of time understanding the practice and what it symbolized, so I only really started toying with a Lent forfeit based on what my church communicated about the season’s importance. Then I read this post by Ann Voskamp this past week. She also grew up in a church where the “giving up”practice wasn’t highlighted. I love what she had to say about it, “Lent isn’t about forfeiting as much as it’s about formation. We renounce to be reborn. We break away to become.” I got that. I understood that.
It also made me revisit how to go about Lent this year. What if this time was really about formation? What if it was about rebirth? What if it was about becoming? So what if, instead of giving something up this season, I adopted a new behavior instead? What if I affirmatively took on a practice where I was lacking? An action and reaction that would form me more closer to the image of my God? One that would help me on my path to becoming more like Him?
So that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to be a more patient mother and wife. I am going to affirmatively practice patience. Which I know means I’m going to get hit with everything under the sun to make me more impatient. But the reality is that I react when I don’t need to and I snap when I shouldn’t. I will practice perspective to promote patience. (Say that three times fast.) But it really is perspective. Perspective that this situation is so small in the grand scheme that patience is the best course. And patience will help me in becoming more like Him. Heck, Proverbs 19 was probably written by a momma: A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
I am a person that likes things done right then and the right way (according to me). Patience is not my virtue. But I know that the Bible is full of references saying that it should be. So for this Lenten season, I will trying wearing patience. And I know, as Ann Voskamp suggests, it will require me drawing closer to God each day because I can not do it on my own.
Colossians 3 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
James 1 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Galatians 5 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (NAS)