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Potholes, First Response and Lent


I’m not sure about where you live but our roads are full of potholes!  Ones that make you go ouch! and hope and pray that your tires and underside are still there!  The deep freeze of 2014 has caused major upheaval on our roads.  Potholes can bang your car around, cause major damage to tires among other things and basically trip you up.

I hate the potholes that life brings too.  Things that may seem minor but can cause deep lasting damage.  The effect of going over too many.  Wearing you down.  I’m tired of being banged around, blindsided and then reacting to them.

My goal: respond rather than react.  Much harder said than done, if you have always been a reactor like me, not a responder.  Two of my sisters have been ER nurses and one is married to an ambulance attendant.  They are called first responders for a reason.  They go in prepared.  They don’t react to a crisis, they respond.  They’ve trained so they know what to do when a situation arises.

I want to be a first responder not a first reactor.  First reactors cause a bigger mess, more damage.  I’ve done it a hundred times.  Yuk.

I’ve been thinking about Lent.  I know, how does this have to relate to potholes and first responders, right?  Stay with me.  I have really been trying to respond not react in my life.  Be a participant rather than a bystander, just letting life happen.  So many holidays go by and I feel empty.  I haven’t prepared for them in my heart.  It happens.  I get it.  But I’m a little tired of it happening to me.

I felt God nudge me to walk more intentionally by his side as the new year approached.  One area that needed attention was confession.  I admit, I blew through my “I’m sorrys” if I did them at all.  I didn’t really sit down and take it seriously.  I didn’t have time.  I didn’t really examine my heart.  God was telling me it was time to grow up in this area.

As I’ve been on the journey of confession, on the horizon appeared Lent.  It got my attention.  Unlike Advent, I was open to the idea of Lent.  Advent felt like a HAVE TO but Lent is a I WANT TO.  This is partly due to the fact, I’m in a bible study this winter, studying the life of Jesus.  My heart is open not closed.

The other reason is a book, Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg, I read last spring.  She has a wonderful chapter on prayer and Lent.  Margaret writes, “Maybe instead of asking, What are we giving up for Lent? we need to ask, Who and what are we trying to receive through Lent?”  (p. 82)

I really like the shift of focus off my self-denial and onto the One who Lent is really about.  That doesn’t mean self-denial isn’t part of it but the focal point is off my personal martyrdom.

In those forty days of Lent, I want to walk beside Jesus, like the disciples.  As we’ve studied Jesus in our study, it’s been interesting to see how much of an effect Jesus has on those who draw near Him.  His Holiness, His Majesty, His Love, His Truth reveal people’s hearts.  Those whose hearts are open to Him reveal gratitude, love, reverence, to name a few.  Those whose hearts are far from Him, reveal judgement, fear, pride, hate and self-preservation.  I want my heart revealed this Lent. I want to be affected by Jesus in these forty days.  Then the potholes won’t trip me up because I’ve trained alongside Him and I can respond rather than react.

Can this happen in forty days?  Honestly I feel a little afraid, doubtful.  My faith is immature when it comes to trust.  “Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) I whisper.  My head knowledge is telling me that God is faithful.  I’ve seen it again and again in the scriptures.  I think I just need to take the first step.

How to accomplish this?  I’m praying about reading through the new testament with Margaret Feinberg through Lent.  (see widget on sidebar)  The New Testament in forty days?  That’s a commitment and a sacrifice of time.  I’ll have to be intentional about it.  Not let the potholes of life distract me.

Do you practice Lent?  If so what are you doing?  If not, why not?