Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Fail At Lent (And That Means, Ultimately, I Win)

It is the seventh day of this whole family illness.  I'm doing battle as best I can, losing my own voice even as I clean up sick and dole out medicines and keep cool clothes on feverish foreheads.  I make myself tea to soothe my own swollen throat and rock pale faced babes wrapped warm in quilts.  It should come as no surprise that during this trial, I've failed.  Miserably.

The goal was No TV during Lent (or, rather, no Netflix, since we do not get traditional channels for the most part).  But when the temperature rose and things really started to get hot around here and little ones laid out languid on the couch, my hand automatically reached for the remote.

Its been seven days, and all seven days I have turned to the television.  In the midst of this huge sick house undertaking, I didn't even try to do without it. 

So, I fail at Lent.  Miserably.  And yet, that is what Lent is all about.  How we flail and fail.  How we strive on our path of good intentions and end up in a ditch somewhere, all entwined in our own humanness.  I'm shown again and again how much I truly need grace and salvation.

What does a Lent of perfectly executed deprivation prove?  Perhaps only that you did not attempt to give up the things that truly trip you up.

I'm being taught so much.  The true message of Lent is not of our victory over our sinful flesh, but His saving graces for those of us who fail.  And that is why I need Him so - to cover my failures and set me back on that road with a fresh start.  Because of His grace, I get that second, third, fourth, five thousandth chance at a clean slate.  With Him constantly at my side, I can continue toward victory despite setbacks.

And that's why, although I fail at Lent, ultimately, I win.

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  1. So very true. The act of trying is really the important part. The act of stretching ourselves. When we aspire to be better, the angels in heaven sing. When we ask for forgiveness, for the times we mess up, the angels in heaven sing! How great is our Father, that he forgives us every time? That is what Lent is all about. Recognizing our shortcomings, and trying to be better.


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