Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ash wednesday


image by carl spietzwig - after carnival

as a compulsive over eater fasting is a complicated issue for me. i have learned to fast items instead of days. it has become an important spiritual discipline in my life. i have found great life in choosing to give things up.

another spiritual discipline that i use to balance my fasting is commitment. again, this isn't done in sweeping large ways, vast measures usually reduce me to failure, so i find 'items' if you will, to add to my day to create balance in the fasting. i have found this positive/negative to bring a lot of wholeness for me.

considering lent this year i prayed and reflected through the filter of "centered" which is my watch word for this year. what discipline could be added/taken away that would help me toward living a more centered life? i prayed for weeks, nothing it seemed fit.

this weekend liam and i spoke about lent in quite a few conversations. he too had been considering his own lenten discipline and we realized that the moral support of working together on a discipline would also bring some partnership that we are trying to regain in healthy ways in our marriage.

other conversations this weekend kept surfacing around finances, the state of the union here at the flat and our seeming loss of a discipline we came to know and love in years past - simplicity. somehow not having to live on the edge of life, moving and financial ruin allowed us to stray from that simple place we had come to know and love. enough somehow wasn't anymore - and we both felt it's loss. we have also found that having a bit more than 'enough' in the bank account has left us quite undisciplined and getting sloppy financially. we were both feeling the stress of the fear of the unknown in that area of our lives too.

then a light turned on, almost at the same time - we realized that this would be our discipline for lent. simplicity and enough. i know in my own life that i use "things" to pull my focus away from the important aspects of life. i settle for good in trade for better.

i find i loose my center quickly when our finances are sloppy. it doesn't matter if there is enough money in the bank to meet our needs, bills and even wants - if it is sloppy and unknown it floats through my life like an ethereal specter haunting me and the choices i make throughout the day.

so we have chosen to use these 40 days to simplify, organize, clean-sweep and ask ourselves regularly 'is this enough?', 'is there a more simple way to do this task i am given?' - and most of all to do it with a view to the eternal - how can i choose today the best instead of the good?

i find that these choices and intense time of intentional discipline gives life and legs to the rest of the year.

so happy lent, i pray your choices for these next 40 or so days bring you light and life and wholeness.

3 comments:

wilsonian said...

Interestingly, I have been drawn to the same thing (though apart from Lent... there are other things that will be going for 40 days, for a start).

Last week I spoke with a woman from church, a missionary with many years of experience in making a beautiful life for her family on very little money, and asked her to mentor me in this. She agreed... and left me with a question. What would simplicity look like in my life? I'm giving it a ponder. Some things have come quickly, and others are brewing.

Just find it interesting that in this area too, we are tracking together.

I pray that it is a beautiful time for you and Liam...

Heather said...

Thanks Bobbie, this touched me too. I've sensed God calling me "back" to my home a bit, after a season of stretching my wings to make sure I could still fly. So I'm using Lent as a time to refocus my priorities and heart back to my nest.

anj said...

too weird - i just sat down for a moment to check bloglines, and read your blog about simplicity --- i too have been thinking about this, not for lent but how i seem to have lost the plot on this one lately. you seem to be striking a common chord. anyway, the weird part is that i checked back to my blog and see you commented on mine whilst i was on yours.