The Secret to Fasting in a Lent that is Failing
Dust cloth in hand, that is what I’m thinking Lent’s all about.
Don’t I desperately want to be changed when Easter morning dawns?
For something different to have dawned in me.
I wash things down.
I mean, it’s easier to blithely dust, spring clean, do some happy spring decorating than to think about Lent. I get that. I’d like that.
But it’s not what I want. I want to have grown into someone else by Easter morning. I set the Easter Tree back into place.
I can see it on the ends of the Easter Tree branches, remnants of buds on the tips of the dogwood branches. That is the point: “to grow up in every way into him who is the head.” Growth. How often is there change without growing pains?
Maybe that is what the gnawing struggle of a Lent fast is all about — the growing pains of grace.
A week of Lent and that’s what I’ve got — how weak I am.
All week, struggling with the fast.
Stacking a few plates too loudly last night, snapping some frail heart bones with this tongue of mine, tongue tail of my heart. A messy discussion that was toned too angsty.
A word spoken too fast, harsh, and that look in the eyes of a teenager.
A door slammed hard and my heart the hard thing.
Raising your own flesh and blood can be this exercise in seeing how dirty your flesh is and how dire you need the blood of Christ. All my love can amount to so little.
Leaning over the stove, wiping it down, seeing all my own burned-into me grime, I lament in the midst of Lent.
“Oh…deliver … me…” I choke it out, “…from this body of death.”
I have no idea — does a contrite heart express the essence of Lent?
There are those words read last night after we lit the Lenten candle:
“Self-denial means knowing only Christ and no longer onself. It means seeing only Christ, who goes ahead of us, and no longer the path that is too difficult for us.
Self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.
For all my failing and flailing to give up anything to become more, there is this:
The realest fast is to hold fast to Christ.
Isn’t that the motivation every fast needs –the possibility of holding fast to Christ?
Fasting, it is that: abstaining from anything that hinders adoration of Christ.
I could do that, make that the definition of my Lent and fast: Letting go of more of the world, to lay more hold of God.
That would redefine me.
“Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the Invisible.
Fasting the other — with which we cast away the visible….
Prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development.”
Something always comes to fill the empty places. I need empty places so He can fill me.
Is my fast failing because I am focusing on what is empty — instead of Who is filling.
I turn to wipe sticky peanut butter off the fridge, and I could write it right there on the fridge, turn this Lent slant: The best Lenten fast finds way to hold fast to Christ.
Focus on Him. Hold fast to Him.
Wiping away fridge prints, it all reads clean:
Fasting is really about communion – and you have to broken of something to be made whole in Him.
There are still the floors to wash.
The bookshelves in the study to dust.
I rinse out my cloth.
And all the water running, it runs straight clean.
when you fast…
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Thank you for grace. It’s a crazy joy to walk with you with Him, inviting more to head with us towards Home.
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Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart. To read the entire series of spiritual practices
This week, and the next, as we walk with Him towards Easter, might we consider: The Practice of Fasting. We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….
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