I hope there is no one with delicate sensibilities on this blog. If so, I apologize profusely if my title offended. Please forgive.
I had a crappy, crappy day today. It started off relatively fine. Alarm went off at 6:30, up and out of the door by 7:15. I was at work by 7:30 with coffee in hand, warming my hands and awakening my sleepy brain. I don’t have class on Thursdays, (I’m a seminary student) so I decided to spend most of my day at the church working on special graphic projects, such as the poster and logo for our Sunrise Service, the weekly email blast we send out to the congregation, etc, etc.
Let me make this clear: I work with an amazing group of people. They are fun and I love them dearly. Yet the magnitude of what we must do together as a church staff is overwhelming sometimes. And you have those “hallway” conversations with people you are in ministry with (I also teach at the church) and you seek to work out the tension between things like vision and reality and what you want to be and what can actually be.
Those conversations can hit hard, and maybe not even in the moment you are having them. So the crap in my day didn’t come (at least not on the surface) from these conversations or even these people. They came from spilling my fountain soda all over the floor before I’ve even had any, and from loosing some really, really important notes (pages of them) I can’t finish a project without. Those little things aggravate the big things… and the next thing I know my mind is racing with all the crap in my life I can’t control and my heart breaks with the brokenness that is in me and is in the world.
For me, this Lenten season has not been what I should have made it. I am not thoughtfully preparing myself for Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And in that, I discovered that I have given up the significant importance of what help makes me a whole and spiritually healthy person: reflection on God’s goodness. I didn’t intentionally “give” this up for Lent (not that anyone ever should) but I, in my crazy, screwed-up and misdirected ways, might as well have. Because the Lord’s goodness is not in the front of my mind… it seem that I have given that up.
Part of the Lenten process is sacrificing – fasting from certain foods or media. And I love that part of Lent. I love the call to sacrifice a normal, everyday comfort for the sake of something outside yourself. This often brings sadness into the heart. And our sin rightfully should bring that sadness. But today I am looking at this process of preparation and sacrifice differently.
I am looking for the joy.
Joy is a funny word, because we know it’s possible to be joyful without expressing happiness. Feelings of joy often come from with the heart, whereas an expression of happiness is more temporal and outward. When I think of joy I think of contentment. And when I think of contentment, I don’t automatically think of “Lent”. But today I have a new Lenten goal: to find the joy in this sorrowful season, to find the joy in my heart. To give up the downward spiral I brought myself to in this season... and be reminded that God is good. Even when my day is not.