Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fast failure

How quickly rituals meant to remind of Christ become burdensome. I see the hypocrite, the pharisee in myself - If I'm abstaining from coffee, can I use a double shot to kick a migraine or do I suffer on under the guise of fasting? If I'm abstaining from drinking milk, can I eat pudding? Seeing my thoughts in print, I'm embarrassed by my pettiness.

This lent tradition, giving up to gain Christ, replacing a comfort with the Spirit's comfort, has been mostly about me. Where I will draw the line. How much I want a cup of coffee. How much I wish I had ignored the uncomfortable fasting season altogether.

Hardly the spiritual conquest I was hoping for.

Spiritual conquest - the root of my fast failure. I wasn't hoping to glorify God, not really. I was hoping for a grand spiritual experience, to have a primed and ready heart. It sounds so good, but how can I have a heart prepared to celebrate Jesus if he isn't my focus? I am the hypocrite disfiguring my face, looking gloomy and exhausted, to show my fasting to the world. I grossly miss the point.

So my Lent season has been a series of disappointments. I don't feel focused on Christ. If anything, I'm more obsessed with myself. I chose coffee because I depend on it for self-control and strength. Just let momma finish this cup, and I'll be a better momma. promise.  In a small way, I use a latte to replace the Holy Spirit.

I thought to give it up in order to be made perfect in weakness. Instead my weakness has been highlighted. Not an addiction to caffeine, but the desire to control my weakness, to mask my selfishness with extra energy.
3 weeks passed in Lent. 3 weeks left to Lent. A half time evaluation, and I see the heavy burden I have tied on myself. Not the hardship of giving up my ritualistic latte break. The heart that believed I could prepare myself, force my way into God's presence through a fast. Have I not already been given access? His burden is light because He carried it all. He shouldered my burden under the weight of a wooden cross and crucified my sin with his blood. By his wounds, I am healed.

That's what I'm supposed to remember during Lent.

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