The traditions of Lent are pretty basic. We give up food, as in fasting, in order to participate in the suffering of Christ. There can be more to it than that but I'm sticking with the basic idea of preparing oneself for celebrating Jesus' resurrection. We are to fast in order to spend time with Jesus our savior. Many also save a sum of money that would be used to purchase the meal and donate it to a charity, usually one the church has chosen. So in "giving up" a meal or a certain food, a person can choose to "give". That is simple and concrete, easy to understand and do. Many do it thinking those things in themselves are enough to garner approval, to be obedient. At a certain level they do gain approval and can be said to be obedient. I've learned to reach beyond that in participating in Lent. I'm not sure I always do in other areas of my life. I hope in my giving up that what I offer Jesus instead is more of my heart, soul and mind.
I know I need to be specific. Anyone who read my last post (scroll down) sees the obvious need I have to do just that. How does a person who is angry continue to commune with God? How do I lay down the anger and move on? I'm not sure of the answer to any of those questions. I do know that during this time that I need to seek answers from Jesus and wise counsel. When my friend who committed suicide expressed her frustration with not being understood by Christians who in all well-meaning and ignorance advised her to spend more time reading the bible, memorizing scripture and in prayer I felt I needed to find some resources for those well-meaning people on depression and the struggle of abuse victims. I've found a couple things, but nothing really stands out. Since I decided to try to find these resources, she decided she couldn't handle life anymore and committed suicide. In my grief and increased anger I had difficulty focusing on trying to find more resources. Now I need to deal with my anger. Perhaps in trying to help myself I will find what I need to fulfill my quest.
So what does any of that have to do with Lent? In sacrificing my recreation and pleasure time I will be seeking Christ through some materials I was given to use in prayer, a book with some exercises I am starting to work on and seeking some answers about my anger through Jesus wisdom and the servants He has placed in my life. It doesn't feel good. The anger is almost unmanageable at times. I then feel angry at myself for letting it get like that. I don't know what to do. Someone who will not read to the end of this post will tell me I have to forgive; I have to lay it at Jesus feet etc. I have done these things to the extent that I know who I am angry at and what events or words have hurt me. Doing those things in obedience does not erase anger. They haven't erased my anger. It is only by the grace of God that I have been able to be angry over my friend's death and at those who failed her and not fall into bitterness. The past 5 or 6 days have been extremely difficult and I am not sure where I have fallen but I am sure I have or I would not be feeling this depressed or angry. Fine way to start Lent when I am supposed to be spending more time with Jesus and I find myself separated from Him. I don't know what is going on and I am not sure I am going to find out.