Every day this week, the robins have said “Good Morning.” As if they are thrilled to see me return, they fly from the cedar tree to the oaks and back again, as if announcing, “She’s here, she’s here, come and see!”
And I pause before entering my office door, I pause in the parking lot longing to discern their meaning, their message, being so captivated by them there.
I heard a podcast speaking of change in habits, change in mindset and how most of us make it about four days.
Good morning Day 4 of 40 and my observation of Lent!
Someone chuckled when I announced my decision to fast, added we’re not Catholic or Episcopalian or anything like that.
She watched as I chose water over wine.
Had little to say when I told her I had to choose my favorite indulgence, my favorite reward or as we both know so very well because I used to belt the lyrics loud in my powerfully independent voice,
My favorite mistake.
My girl grew up on the anthems of Sheryl Crow.
So, we continued as I shared with her why I chose my indulgent red wine in the pretty stemless glass that my hand hurried home to cup after life and work had worked my nerves and took from me more than I had to give.
How could I not choose to give up the thing that I decided was my worthy reward, my justified balm for my weary soul?
How could I not sacrifice in an effort to find perhaps the true balm that was being perhaps, ignored?
For some it’s social media, others it is sugar or bread or chocolate or maybe stronger drink, intoxicating the heart and mind.
For me it could have easily been Instagram or peanut butter.
Because, I’ve taken to peanut butter in excess again.
Made up for the break from red wine by mindlessly cleaning out the jar of especially crunchy and sweet salty amber colored cream while waiting for dinner to be done.
Then I had my dinner with water in the wine glass and I was satisfied until it came time for something more…my pattern, I am learning.
So again I go to the kitchen and I finish off the chocolate almond Halo Top that boasts of being harmless.
The wine stayed corked in the cabinet and I began to learn what I know now.
I look for reward in things outside of myself to be told that I am enough and when I feel unnoticed, I indulge in the first “good” thing I can get my hands on that is waiting there for me.
To burst through the back door, tell my husband it was a horrible day and reach for my reward.
Maybe three days in, I’m learning already about that “heart shaped hole” people speak of that we try to fill.
The place of our souls where Jesus wants to be enough.
Maybe by day ten I will have fully exhausted all of my immediately gratifying rewards and I’ll sit with Jesus and myself just quietly.
Maybe I will be filled not from the immediate things I seek to gratify me, food, drink, a device in my hand or a reader that likes me and says “you’re good”.
Maybe my needs will be less and my soul’s wants, becoming more will be seen more clearly.
They’ve been so fully met all along.
What you need has always been here.
I chose to fast from red wine for 40 days for two reasons, one of them selfish, I admit.
I see it as sort of a spiritual experiment. I am curious to see how my faith will change, what I will hear and see more clearly.
How I will know myself and God when I surrender intentionally.
The other reason as I told my young assistant when she, seeing all the conflict of work these days announced…”Oh wow, you really chose wine?”
Women and wine, it’s obviously a thing.
To which I answered.
How could I not sacrifice something that will be hard when Jesus died for me…sacrificed His life on the cross for me?
She smiled sweetly.
So, Lent for this not churched that way poor country girl, I am learning and I am allowing your lessons.
It may be more than wine as the wind down “waiting to comfort me reward” that’s been buffering God’s voice.
It may be that and other things I am only just beginning to hear.
It may be finally that all the mistakes I casually named my favorites because you don’t tell your little daughter dancing in the kitchen about your shame.
You masquerade your shame with reckless sometimes funny mommy behaviors.
It may be that three days in,
I am at last understanding
It will be joy for me, fully believing.
It will be like resurrection morning!
Last night, I drafted a post about the robins, deleted and started over three times. Went to bed thinking, well I don’t know why…but, I may be losing my writing voice. It seemed so unnecessary, for me to tell again about my love of a bird.
So, I woke and I journaled and I decided to be brave and share my choice for Lent. Like most writing, the words just came. And it is about me; but, it may be for someone else, God said. “It is my will that you be brave.
It’s your part to be real at the risk of being ridiculed, this is what you should surrender, your fear of being shamed and allow your truth to go the places I say, Lisa Anne.”
About forgiveness I’m learning more every day, every new day I am becoming more free.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
John 3:16-17 ESV