Posted on March 9, 2014
Shut my mouth! My thoughts about Lent.
I took a Facebook quiz this week that was supposed to tell me what I should give up for Lent. You know what the answer was? Nothing. Yep, the quiz said I don’t need to give up anything for Lent. Since I’m not much of a participant in the whole Lent thing, I guess that was a good answer.
(You can take the quiz here: What Should You Give Up For Lent.)
So about Lent. I really like the idea of it. I love the intentionality of setting up our hearts and spirits for the coming of Easter. I love the idea of doing something that focuses our attention on Christ’s sacrifice. But, since I didn’t grow up in a church tradition that observes Lent, I’ve mostly seen it as a way for people to go on a diet. You know… giving up chocolate or bread or soda or something bad for you like that. I know that’s not the way it is for everyone, but that’s the majority of the experience I have with Lent.
Last year, in an attempt to observe Lent, I gave up unnecessary spending for the 40 days before Easter. I think I did alright with that, but honestly I don’t remember. And in reality, that was a discipline I need to practice more often anyway. (I should have practiced that all year long!)
I had no intentions of observing Lent this year. I recognize it’s an incredibly meaningful practice for many. But, for me, it just isn’t my “thing.”
However… last Thursday morning I had a thought.
What if I spend the next 40 days being intentional about a discipline I want to incorporate in my day to day life? And what if I expect myself to fail, but determine in my mind to keep on practicing it so that it can become a long-term change and not just a 40 days change?
That sounds good to me!
So here’s the thing. I have been trying lately to shut my mouth at work. It’s easy to become critical and negative when things like red tape and short deadlines impede my workflow. It’s also easy to be critical of others and join with all the other critics when I’m frustrated. For many months now, I have been trying to learn this:
If you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all.
That’s easier said than done for me. More times than I would like to admit, I fail at this simple rule. I step back from a situation and ask myself if I would have said all the things I just said in the presence of the person I was talking about. Most of the time, I would not. Sigh… I have a long way to go.
Ironically, the sermon at church today was about our faith at work. That’s long been a soap box for me, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement with the sermon based on 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. And then came the three bullets to the heart at the end:
- Be quiet
- Mind your own business
- Work with your hands
All of this is so we can win the respect of non-believers. Read it for yourself. It’s all in there.
In other words: Kari, shut your mouth, don’t contribute to gossip and derogatory discussions, and put your head down and work regardless of the madness that is going on around you. Sigh… I have a long way to go.
So that’s my challenge. I want to form a habit of being quiet and keep it lasting well beyond Easter. You see, people won’t believe my faith if my behavior doesn’t model it. So, while I think I have come a long way in my life when it comes to living out my faith at work, there’s more work to do. And isn’t that the beauty of a life lived well? We’re always striving, always reaching, always learning to be more like Christ. I will fail, you can count on that. But to not try at all? That’s true failure.
Do you observe Lent? Let me know in the comments what you gave up for Lent and how it prepares your heart for Easter. I really DO want to know!
Watch this for a great perspective on Lent: