“I didn’t fail the test… I just found 100 ways to do it wrong” –benjamin franklin

Lenten Rose Helleborus orientalis or Helleboru...

Image via Wikipedia ((ps--Did you know this is called a "lenten flower"? thank YOU, automatic-picture-finder-thing-on-wordpress!!))

I haven’t posted in 4 days, and that’s kind of embarrassing considering I told y’all that I would post every day as per my Lenten promise.

I also told you that I would keep silence in the car and bus and allow God to speak to me through it rather than getting distracted from the radio, and I haven’t been doing so great at that, either.  In fact… to make up for my general bad Catholicness, I just grabbed a fistful of change to put in my Operation Rice Bowl box.

This post was going to be something different… but I like the direction its going, so let’s keep on that path, shall we?

I used to be really great at keeping promises.  I used to be able to set goals for myself, work hard, and then achieve them.  In junior high I gave up chocolate for Lent.  I had so much will power back then.  I even lost at least 10 pounds because the lack of chocolate led to healthier food choices and more exercise.  I used to make Lenten promises that I kept both because I promised God and I feared failure.

So my lack of commitment in keeping my Lenten promises this year means one of two things:

God is no longer important.

I am starting to embrace my failures.

 

It can’t be the first one.  God is very important to me.  A lot of times I don’t feel that burning desire to be closer to him… in fact, a lot of times I don’t even think of him.  I won’t lie.  Sometimes I do give up.  But I always go back.  I always dust myself off.  I always keep God a priority, and if I lose focus, I make sure to put him back where he belongs.

But that second one… the part about embracing failures…  I think therein lies a sneaky lesson God planned for me this Lenten season.

You see… I may be messy and laid back… but I am a closet perfectionist.  I can’t stand being wrong, I can’t stand being second best, and I can’t stand being short of my very best.  These aren’t bad things all the time.. but sometimes I obsess over it so much that if I am wrong, or if I am not the best or my best… I feel like a pathetic excuse for a human being.

But this Lent, I am embracing my failures. I am embracing those moments where I stumble and I am messy.  I learned that too much silence is not good for me, and so I adjust and listen to Christian radio when I am finding the silence too overwhelming.  I learned that I don’t want to just update my blog with mindless things or short things for the sake of getting something in every day… I’d rather mull over ideas and save them for later.

I am learning that I can promise God one thing… and God can take that promise and do something else with it.

I can tell you lots of times I’ve been uplifted just by listening to Christian radio in the car this Lenten season instead of mindlessly driving in silence, or the times where I may have skipped blogging to have a good conversation with a friend or pay attention to my body’s need for rest.

What I can see in my eyes as a failure can be seen as a whole-hearted effort to be open to God’s movement in a different direction.

So maybe I fail.  Maybe I don’t keep my promises all the time.  Maybe I struggle and I am messy.  But by embracing these shortcomings, I am learning how to forgive myself, and I am learning how to love myself the way God loves me… and what could be a better lesson to learn in preparation for the resurrection of the Lord?

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