Finding God – Lent 2015

finding God in the midst of chaos / Lent 2015 // stephanieorefice.net

 

One year I gave up fast food for Lent. Two days in, I was driving from Seattle back home to Portland when I stopped at Taco Bell (I used to make really bad decisions). I stood in line at Taco Bell, kind of back and forth about if I should get something or not and I finally cracked and left. I felt really guilty about it and was sitting in quiet reflection when the Holy Spirit convicted me to the core of my being.

“What is the point of giving up fast food if you’re still arrogant and hard of heart? Do you think I am glorified by you abstaining from fast food but continuing to gossip and be cynical about everyone in your life?”

I realized that Lent isn’t just about what we give up. Madeleine L’Engle says that if something is worth giving up for 40 days, it’s worth giving up once for all.

The danger with giving something up is that we’ve created a void in our lives that might be quickly filled with another unhealthy habit. It’s not enough to remove something – we must REPLACE it. Trade the bad for the good and trade the good for the best.

A few weeks ago my best friend Emily texted me about Lent, and we ended up sharing our Lent plans. The heart of it is about seeing God in our lives – and I’d say more than seeing, FINDING. Finding God in our lives. Sometimes I think he’s a little more discreet about his presence than we realize, and I think we need to lean in a little bit closer, to be detectives in search of evidence of something we already know – God is here. I want to spend my life collecting little evidence bags of proof that God’s been invading my life and leaving his fingerprints, footprints, crumbs and fibers all over everything.

That’s what Lent is about for me this year. and this is what I’m doing:

  • I took the Facebook & Facebook messenger app off my phone.
    Let’s be real – I waste a lot of time scrolling through my newsfeed and getting angry at people I like. I click that stupid little F not just out of boredom but sheer habit. No more.
  • I am going to catch up & stay caught up on my Bible in 2015 reading plan. 
    I’ve fallen behind. Very behind. and instead of throwing myself a pity party or feeling like a failure, I’m just going to bust my butt and get caught up.
  • Being more intentional about taking pictures of how I see God at work in my life.
    I really like pictures. and I recently invested in a new camera, and I haven’t used it as much as a person who paid nearly $1,000 for a new camera should use it when they first get it. I feel stifled and uncreative and in a rut. and I don’t think that’s how God created me to engage with the world. So I’m going to be like the people on CSI who take pictures of everything as evidence. I’m finding God, and I’ll have pictures to show for it.
  • Being quiet. 
    Monday was so rough for me. I woke up and sent someone a picture of my planner for the next 3 weeks and was overwhelmed with the busyness of it all. I hate being busy and without moments to breathe and re-center. So even in the midst of chaos, I’m going to be quiet. I’m going to take time to read (I haven’t read in a long time) and write (especially letters to my friends) and even just sit looking outside while I drink my coffee. I need to have moments of quiet.

The things I’m “giving up” aren’t THINGS so much as feelings, time-wasters, worries, fears. Stuff that slowly destroys my soul, peace and rest because I let it take over my entire life. and it’s not about 40 days, it’s about life. Lent is just a great time to reset because it’s easy to find accountability and it’s leading up to the greatest victory this world has ever known, so it’s like a built in celebration at the end.

Isaiah 30:15 // stephanieorefice.net

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6 Comments

  1. February 18, 2015 / 12:01 pm

    these are all such amazing things! and i feel like i am at the same place in life! i don’t have facebook anymore, so my “facebook” is instagram. not as suffocating an environment, but i have stopped “scrolling” endlessly and limit my time on there.

    i am the same with my Bible reading plan. i just started February and we’re more than halfway through February. BUT i have learned not to feel guilty if i can’t read it in 365 days… b/c i don’t think that guilt is from the Lord. the important thing is to read it in its entirity and soak it in. i want to read every day, but if i don’t… i don’t want to beat myself up about it. you know?

    being quiet is a huge goal of mine right now too! i am intentionally trying to put white space in my life and spend time reading, thinking, writing, etc. making that more of a priority 🙂 and finding rest in the Lord and capturing those moments 🙂

    • February 26, 2015 / 12:17 pm

      man i wonder how often Jesus is like “I DIED TO FREE YOU FROM THESE RULES! STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP! TAKE THIS GRACE I BOUGHT FOR YOU AT SUCH A HIGH PRICE!!!” You should just pick one or two days a week to read two portions and you’ll eventually catch up, you know? and then even if you go beyond that, you’ll be a little bit ahead. i’m not even gonna tell you where i’m at in the reading plan. when i went to nashville for a week i left my bible at home on accident and it was hard to get going again. 😐

      <3

  2. February 18, 2015 / 12:06 pm

    I really love your reflection on this- this is one of the first years that I can remember where I’m not giving up anything in the sense that most people think of. I’m hoping to focus more on being intentional with the time I’m spending daily with God (specifically in the morning for me, because i’m just not a morning person).

    • February 26, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      carly – how is lent going for you? you know, once i heard someone say that they always thought that in order to be holy you have to be a morning person but that time with God in the afternoon is just as holy as time in the morning. i loved that, but i realized that it’s “easier” (not in the beginning) to get up early because you’re usually not doing anything then anyway. you’re being disciplined, but not in a time management way that is demanded of late-day quiet moments, you know?

  3. February 20, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    I love this. I agree that you need to replace whatever you’re getting rid of with something that will get you closer to God. I got rid of all my social media apps on my phone (and won’t be checking on the computer either), but I also know that means I need to start using my Bible app and Instapray, etc more and spend more quiet prayer time.

    • February 26, 2015 / 12:09 pm

      what is instapray!? so you’re stepping away from social media for lent? how is it going so far? i always have these grand ideas of what lent will look like, like i will suddenly become a really calm, mature christian… and the reality is that i’m still my normal rough around the edges self… but with more focus. i hope your lent is going well <3

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