I have a confession. I stink at at maintaining a devotional life. Over the years I have tried numerous books, studies, tricks, tips, rewards, and even deprivations in an attempt to start, maintain and sustain a rich devotional practice. I have FAILED.
As a college student majoring in Youth Ministry then Religion I had some guilt over this particular weakness. As a wife of a seminary student my guilt grew. As a pastor’s wife there is no measurement large enough to quantify my guilt. But more than that, it is the lack of abiding closeness that I am missing most. While my self-esteem may suffer because I am not leading a weekly women’s Bible study and feel like a ministry wife failure, that is nothing compared with what I am missing out on by not meeting daily with God. I know that needs to change, and change, it’s a comin’
As with many Christians this time of year, I have been pondering what my sacrifice would be for Lent. For those that don’t know what Lent is, I’ll give a brief synopsis. For more details, check out my husband’s blog post at Being the Way I Was Made for a more in-depth look at Lent.
Lent is a Christian observance beginning at Ash Wednesday, lasting 40 days, and culminating with the celebration of Easter. It is a time for us to focus on Christ’s journey to and sacrifice on the cross, and remembrance and celebration of His resurrection. People do this in a variety of ways, from prayer, penance, giving, and self-denial. Many choose a form of fasting or giving up certain things as a form of self-denial or penance.
In the past I have given up things from pop, television, chocolate, and other things that meant something to me. I have also observed the practice of taking something on during the season of Lent as a spiritual discipline. This is a less common practice but one that I grow fonder of the more I do it. I think that while it is a sacrifice to give certain things up, most of us go right back to those things, hobbies, pursuits, or what not as soon as the 40 days are over. Perhaps we have learned a lesson during our abstention, maybe not. What I like about taking something on is that I am hopefully creating a positive habit in that time. Something that will not only enrich my life, but more importantly, will draw me closer to God, and closer to God is a place I desperately need to be.
So after thinking and praying I have decided to once again take on a challenge for my 40 days of Lent. A reminder from earlier in the post; I am horrible at maintaining a daily devotional life. This
needs has to change. I know that my life and my faith journey would be much improved by simply spending some quality time with my Creator and Sustainer. AKA: God. Now, you also know from earlier in the post, that I have been there, done that, have the devotional books to prove it. So, why and how will this time be any different?
Well, that’s where you, my faithful readers, come in. It’s all about accountability folks! It’s too easy for me to fail on my own. With your help and encouragement, I think I can be successful.
What does that mean for you, you ask? Well, I will be reading a devotional book by Holly Wagner titled, “Daily Steps for God Chicks: The 90-Day Devotional For Real Women,”and I am committing myself to sharing my insights with you all along the way.
Wait a minute. 90 days? I thought you said Lent is 40 days. Yes, very astute observation. I like the book and I know from previous experience that 40 days is not quite long enough for me to develop the habit of a daily devotional. 90 days, or 3 month gives me an attainable goal and will hopefully get me in a positive habit before the craziness of the new baby kicks in our door!
My plan is thus: I will read my devotion from the aforementioned book each day (hopefully in the morning) and I will share my insight by blog post each day for 40 days (longer if it is requested). Some will be longer than others, some deeper than others, but the goal is to share and by so doing have accountability to someone other than myself. I hope by doing so I will not only be encouraged in my journey, but I might also share a bit of encouragement and hope along the way. This is also a way to get my creative juices flowing more consistently as well.
I now have a book to go purchase on my husband’s Kindle. Hope to see you over the next 40 days, and please don’t hesitate to encourage, instruct, and yell at me (if necessary) along the way.
What about you? Do you observe Lent, and if so, what are you giving up or taking on?