Friday, March 10, 2017

Not just another post about Lent

I could make up an excuse as to why I haven't blogged in a while, but we all know you'd see right through it, so I'll just get to typing. 

One of the things I love to do most is looking back through my blog, especially the posts about the posts during Lent. It is a good reminder of where my head and my heart were at the time and looking to see if I still feel and understand what I posted. So here goes another post about Lent for me to look back on in a year:

I struggled with what to give up for Lent this year. I normally take pride in thinking of something both creative and challenging, and I was at a loss up until I was at church on Ash Wednesday. The gospel for that day read: 

"...And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you..."
Matthew 6: 5-6

This passage used to confuse me, especially when it is read on Ash Wednesday, where we wear ashes on our head, proclaiming our faith. But it made me realize that I shouldn't be giving up something just to be creative-or to impress those I tell. It should be something to remind me of God's love, the sacrifice Jesus made and to bring me back to my faith. So I decided to add 30 minutes of reading my Bible each day. I'll admit-there have been days when its been 19 minutes or that I forgot all together. I won't use the excuse of grad school or being tired either, because I could have found time in the day. 

The first day, I sat with my Bible open, reading all the notes or highlighted passages but I didn't have much of a plan on how I would spend my 30 minutes each night. I started reading Proverbs because it's been on my list of books I haven't read all the way through but want to. Boy, did I choose a tough book to get through. Not because it's heavy, but because it is filled with so many little pieces of advice, often written in a metaphor (what I love most is that when Solomon discusses Wisdom with female pronouns!) Since it is so complex, I later chose to read one chapter each night. Two nights ago I read chapter 13 where it states:

"Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."
Proverbs: 13:10

It is such a great reminder that being right isn't the only thing that matters. I LOVE being right, anyone who knows me knows this. But it can also be dangerous to get so confident in myself that I don't look for or accept advice when I need it. I act as though accepting advice would hurt my pride, when it would only increase my wellbeing. Sure, there is some bad advice out there, but there is also some really good advice. Like what Matthew 6 says-I don't need to stand prideful at the street corners telling everyone how good of a Christian I am, sometimes I need to go in my own room and listen for God's advice. That sure is harder said than done, though. 

With all the anxieties that come with finishing grad school, like finishing coursework and finding a job, I haven't done a very good job of seeking help. My focus is so much on being able to do these last papers on my own and job searching and preparing for graduation, that I am overwhelming myself. I am not asking for help or advice because I don't want to seem like I'm not put together-and that is just what the Proverbs passage is cautioning. 

Moving forward through the Lenten season, I am really going to try to ask for help or advice on things that feel overwhelming. Areas of my life that could use an outside opinion, rather than trying to maintain my pride. Because there won't be much left to be proud of if I can't get to the finish line.