This has been a great Lent so far. And by "great" I mean pretty hard. I set out this lent giving up some of the same old things that are really hard for me and some new things as well. If I had to pick a virtue that summed up my sacrifices it would probably be temperance. Did you hear that God? I said temperance. But no, God has a different virtue for me this lent, a hard virtue, humility.
It took me a few rounds of prideful backlash to realize what God was doing. If it wasn't for The Litany of Humility, I don't think I would have ever recognized how God was trying to work in me. My first response when something humbling is said to me or about me is to do nothing. Then, for the next day or even week sometimes, I replay the instance in my head thinking of what I should have said or I complain to my husband about the horrible injustice done to me. Even if it's small, my pride feeds on feeling sorry for myself in these humbling situations. I'm not going to go into detail about any of the specific events or things that were said because...well, that wouldn't be humble. That would be me, as mentioned above, feeling sorry for myself. Anyways, suffice it to say that through several events I have been humbled and often times thought of as much less than I think of myself. The thing God is trying to show me is how to react to these situations. Why does it bother me so much when I am trampled on or pushed to the side? Should I not desire to be with Christ near the cross being spat on and shoved? The thing I often forget about when trying to grow in a particular virtue is that sometimes it hurts to grow.
When I first went into labor with Miss Belle I remember thinking, "Why did I think I was going to enjoy this?!?!?" That is kind of how I have felt this Lent. Somehow I always go into lent thinking it will be this grace filled ride with painless fasting and effortless spiritual growth. As stupid as it sounds I forget about the literal pain of the cross. When I pick up my tiny little cross which is stamped this season with many opportunities for humility, I forget that sometimes it literally has to hurt to gain the reward at the end. When pain strikes and my pride is hurt, my first reaction is to put up a defense and protect myself. This response is so habitual that I often don't even see the opportunity for growth sitting right in front of me. God has graced me this season to step back and evaluate the way I handle situations in which I am humbled. To see them not as an attack on me, but as an opportunity to grow, to stop complaining, to stop dwelling on how I was wronged and to try and think of myself as I really should: as nothing without Him. He is helping me to stifle my desires for human love and approval and depend on Him for all.
Christ doesn't promise a painless cross, but He does promise strength for the journey and grace to persevere.
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