Lent | 3.21.12

Psalm 107:1-16
Isaiah 60:15-22
John 8:12-20

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).

For me, the Lenten season serves as a great time of self reflection. It allows me a concentrated time to become more aware of my daily patterns. Those patterns which have become so engrained in my every day that they occur much like my breathing or blinking. They happen so frequently that they seem insignificant, yet these are the very patterns that become the canvas on which the rest of my life tends to be painted.

When reflecting on my own canvas I always become aware of my state of gratitude. Sadly it is, more often than not, my lack of gratitude that becomes increasingly obvious to me. It is a pattern, however, that is not formed instantaneously. Instead my personal reflections reveal to me a systematic shifting of my own attention. Every day my focus moves in certain ways. I continually choose to see the things I do not have or the places I want to go instead of the realities of where I find myself. It’s in these very moments that I become oblivious to the goodness of God’s steadfast love in my present. I look around at my ‘lacking’ instead of the fullness of my ‘already having.’ Because of this aspect of my own nature, gratitude only comes through intentionality. It is formed consciously in opportunities where I can give thanks.

It is not easy for me. I am a goal-oriented person. I like to watch the horizon and think about attainable things. I like to have lists I can accomplish and actively pursue my passions. What I often find when I am reflective during seasons like Lent is that my gaze needs to be redirected. My patterns of ‘wanting’ and ‘needing’ require me to reconsider how I define these terms. I find a need to remove the things that interfere with my ability to live in a constant state of gratitude. The Lenten season gives me an opportunity to start with a fresh canvas. It challenges me to paint my life on the foundation of God’s unfailing love, His wonderful deeds for humanity, His satisfaction of the thirsty and filling of the hungry. When my attention is given to these things, I find a state of gratitude that is wonderfully fresh and challenging. It alters how I speak and spend my time. It allows me to treat others differently. It challenges me to live my life in a way that acknowledges the goodness of God’s enduring love and reflects my gratitude in the patterns of my everyday living.

So this Lenten season let us pray that we become aware of what is interfering with our ability to live in gratitude. May we remove, if only for a while, the things that over time cause our attention to shift. May we find ourselves able to give thanks more readily.

Christy Ridings
Associate University Ministe

You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at:http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf

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