tis the season to reflect…

i love lent because it is the perfect time of year to think critically about what in my life needs to change.

very appropriate as this is a somber church season, but one that is all about being honest about our sinfulness and our shortcomings.

so i’m in the process of changing a few things.

i had decided to give up sweets, but i already broke that rule today when i was out at the seniors meal and ate a lemon bar…
not that i’m completely giving up on giving up sweets. but it’s gonna be more difficult than anticipated.

and i [unofficially] am giving up excessive shopping.
by excessive i mean anything beyond what is needed for my job or for basic survival.

i really should add a few good habits: spending more time in prayer and reading scripture, walking/exercising more, cleaning and organizing my house (yeah, i still have some christmas stuff lingering…).

but since this is a season of reflection, i’m also being intentional at figuring out what to set up as a focus or goal for life.
but really i’ve been trying to figure out what my deepest desire is.

[i’ve always loved the buechner quote that says “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”]

and the other morning i realized that i had no idea what i really wanted to do.
i love working with people
and i love learning about and talking to God
and i love reading the bible
and i love learning and growing with others.
which means that being a pastor is a perfect vocation for me.

but there are days when that doesn’t seem enough.
because i also love traveling.
and spending hundreds of miles in my car each month is not my idea of traveling.

i keep thinking that i need to plan lots of service projects and mission trips and educational vacations in far-off locations.
because i love meeting God’s children across the world, not just next door.
i love being changed by encounters with people who don’t look like me, don’t dress like me, don’t talk like me.

but maybe what all of this means is that i simply need to learn how to care for my next-door neighbors with the same enthusiasm as my neighbors in other states or time zones or countries.
the challenge is that my attention wavers if i need to focus my energy for more than a week or so.
i’m really good at intense bursts of enthusiasm but have yet to master the slow-cooker variation of mission work.

so pray for me to have not just patience but also the burning desire to make a difference that lasts for a really long time.


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