Lenten Thoughts: Look and See

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When I worked at Curves, one of the first things we did with new members (after we oriented them to the whole program) was complete a figure analysis. Basically, we had them mount the dreaded weight determiner and grab the tape measure to find out the sum total of their girth. Did that sound ominous? It was supposed to. The dread that most of those women felt in that moment is colossal. They have spent so much time and energy avoiding the truth, that it is a very scary and humbling task to meet it—and in the presence of another person, yet!

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Perhaps you’ve never thought of it this way, but it’s very easy to not see what we don’t look at. How many of us read our food labels? Before signing off on something, do you read all the fine print?

The list could go on and on of things external, but what about things within?

On the one hand, we could consider all the health signals that we’ve ignored, the doctor’s visits we’ve postponed because we didn’t want to hear what they had to say. Then there’s the stuff of spirit and emotions we’ve opted not to look at either. The AA people understand the importance of that honest self-inventory.

James invites us to the mirror: 22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22-25)

So here’s your homework. Yes, homework.

Carve out a few minutes from your very hectic schedule—that busyness is part of the problem. We stay busy to avoid having to give ourselves—and God more than a passing glance. You could sit at a table with pen and paper or you could stand in front of a full-length mirror. Do what works for you. But do this: ask God what you need to see. Ask for his forgiveness for avoiding, denying, and running. Stay long enough to hear his answers. Let him tell you how wonderful you are and how much he loves you. Then commit to giving him more than a passing glance.

Take that kind of time and you won’t forget it—or regret it.

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Lenten Preview

WP Lent

It’s been a couple years since I wrote an entire devotional series for Lent. Lately, I have felt a gentle nudge to do so again.

As the nudge became a clearly undeniable push, I asked the Holy Mover what direction to take. I keep coming back to Resurrection morning and Mary’s encounter the unrecognizable Jesus. Jesus asks her, “Who are you looking for?” (John 20:15a)

In Advent I focus on being prepared, being ready for the coming of Jesus. Lent is a time for focus, but for me it is also about surrender, giving, and working to deepen my faith relationship. That fits so well with the question Jesus asked of Mary.

WP Looking for

Who am I looking for?

How am I looking? Am I satisfied with a glance? A nod in God’s direction?

In Proverbs we read: without vision the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)

Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. (Ephesians 1:18)

WP Refuse to look

We cannot see what we don’t look for.

This Lenten season I want a vision. I don’t want to mistake Jesus for a gardener. I want to see Jesus all the way.

Will you journey with me? We’ll start on Wednesday morning.

WP Journey path

(Having difficulty adding pictures. I apologize for the initial absence of visual prompts…somehow seems ironically appropriate. Helps to read the instructions. Also a multi-level lesson learned. T)

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