March starts with ashes…
I didn’t grow up with the practice of Lent…
but I have come to know its value….
life is full of burning…
I sit with the ghost of ashes
on my forehead
still raw and sore
feeling the sting and exhaustion
which comes with vulnerability
in the face of possible rejection
I feel unworthy
even as I know I don’t need to
I felt under-dressed
one of my hardest, most shame-filled,
yet, I know, pettiest horrors in life
I feel judged as less than
even though I do not know, for sure, that I was
I feel broken,
I sit in the ash heap of my past
reflected in the story I have to tell
my truth –
it’s so ugly
how can it ever be redeemed?
how can I possibly be arrogant enough to think that God will use me,
even bless me?
is using me…
I see it…I hear it from people
Because the very truth is, I am loved
Yes, God is making beauty right in these ashes
even this moment.
If I have ever believed it –
then this is the time to truly believe it.
No matter the judgement of anyone
No matter the temptation which these feelings bring –
yes, this is the temptation
to tempt me to feel unworthy and less than,
to tempt me to feel I don’t belong,
to tempt me to feel I can’t make new choices,
to tempt me to feel my clothes matter more than my soul,
so I will turn away and give up
So I do not risk this feeling
So I do not continue to burn
So I do not continue to live
as I am tempted to do in this moment.
I want to heap ashes on my head,
sit in them,
I want to wail –
instead of this civilized way of crying
with tissues catching my overactive sinus production.
I want to run far away,
have someone tell me I’m pretty,
I’m a victim,
I DESERVE BETTER!!!
Yes, I am tasting ashes for lent.
Today, I am very aware of my inefficiencies
I bow with humility
I have nothing
I stay bowed in wonder and gratitude….
YES, there is hope!!!
The ashes fade away
as the promise of spring fills the air
weeping can last through a long dark night…………
but joy will come in the morning
With that said, I want to offer up 20 things you might consider giving up, not just for Lent, but for the rest of your life:
• Guilt –Today is a new day and the past is behind.
• Fear – Faith trumps Fear
• The need to please everyone – I can’t please everyone anyways.
• Envy – I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions.
• Impatience – God’s/Life’s timing is the perfect timing.
• Sense of entitlement – I am not owed anything. I live in humility and grace.
• Bitterness and Resentment – The only person I am hurting by holding on to these is myself.
• Blame – I will take responsibility for my actions.
• Gossip and Negativity – I will love other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic.
• Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
• Fear of failure – You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Always fail forward.
• A spirit of poverty – Believe there is always more than enough and never a lack.
• Feelings of unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator.
• Doubt – Believe. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.
• Self-pity – God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others.
• Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason.
• Excuses – A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.
• Lack of counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
• Pride – Blessed are the humble.
• Worry – Trust life. Worrying will not help.
What else might you add to the list?
Facebook / Wonders of Creativity
Success is not a result of spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire.
Find what you love and let it kill you –
fine advice from Bukowski.
You must lose some things in order to win
You must make space for the new to enter
Set your soul,
Your very life, on fire.
Then let it loose
all over your world
Feed it well
Let it breathe
Until your song
rises from the ashes –
of what used to be your broken life –
but now warms the worn
and speaks grace to the pilgrims
you meet along the way