Admin Note: I am moving my posts from Tuesdays to Thursdays. I post every other Thursday on the Christians Read blog, so this will help keep things a little more organized on my end. Also, due to some extra projects on my plate, in the coming months I might start posting here on the opposite Thursdays from when I post on Christians Read. Thank you for understanding. I am trying to allow God to lead this journey, because it is all about Him and not about me…. I also want to take a moment to thank you for being here. I truly appreciate it. I know there are a million other things you can be doing with your time. So it means more than you know, that you take the time to read my posts! Now onto the main topic of this post…
In my last post prior to Lent, I talked about Fasting, as I was planning on fasting from certain things during Lent. Today I want to share a bit about what I learned over the past couple of months.
Constantly “doing” is an addiction. In our culture, we all wear “busy” like a badge of honor. We make comments about being “too busy” with pride. We feel that we are proving our worth when we are constantly busy. And I honestly believe that our devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) make us even more addicted to always doing something. When we get an alert on our phone, it gives us a dopamine boost. Therefore, in our culture, it can be extra difficult for us to learn to slow down and be present in our lives.
We have to retrain ourselves to be bored. Devices have cluttered our minds so much that we are never bored anymore. Being bored is actually a good thing, especially when it comes to creativity. When our minds have space, we have the ability to create and dream and flourish.
Quiet time is soothing for the soul. Once we get past the struggle with boredom, if we can truly embrace some quiet time in our day, it will soothe the soul. A lot of “noise” (whether literal or figurative) has a way of cranking us up like a wind-up toy. Too much of this can really fray a person’s nerves. When we intentionally add quiet time into our day, we will find a new sense of peace.
God refreshes us if we allow Him to. In our quiet time, it is also helpful to ask God to join you there. If you sit quietly in the Lord’s presence, He will help refresh your soul. Different versions of Psalm 23:3 verify this. “He restores my soul” (NKJV). “He refreshes my soul” (NIV). “He renews my strength” (NLT). What comforting words!
It is not about perfection. Any kind of fasting, whether during Lent or otherwise, is not about perfection. This is important to remember because if we strive too hard, we can fall into a trap of thinking that our works make us worthy and even assure our salvation. In Romans 8:1 it says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” And the enemy might really try to wrap a chain around us in this area. The enemy will tell us if we don’t do it perfectly, then we are not worthy, and God is disappointed in us. Please don’t listen to his lies.
It is about drawing closer to God. Whether we are fasting or not, whether it is Lent or not, every day, the bottom line is that we want to draw closer to God. We can make decisions to do that daily, based on our own unique paths. This has the potential to look different for each of us. Prayerfully seeking God’s guidance is key.
It doesn’t always have to be about removing things. Sometimes adding things can help us grow too. One of the things that I added to my routine was a Lenten devotional Uncovering the Love of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu. This was a truly rich devotional that helped me to savor the Savior in a fresh way. However, adding things isn’t necessarily key either. It is about being intentional with our time and leaning into Jesus.
Follow God’s lead in finding a balance. As with most things in life, we need to find a balance. One of the things that I have been trying to do each morning is to squeeze in some exercise. However, as I write this, I am staying up past my bedtime to watch a baseball game on TV with my hubby. The result could be that I might get up later than I want to in the morning. But that’s okay. I am learning to balance things that honor God, while still loving others, and also paying attention to my own mind, body, and soul. As I mentioned above, I am trying to follow God’s lead. And that is important with every decision we make.
The past few weeks have taught me a lot, as I have been intentional about abiding in Jesus. It doesn’t have to be a special time of year to draw close to God. He is always there, waiting for us. We are always moving in one direction or another – towards God or away from God. Let us choose to move towards Him.
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas