Here's the thing, I don't think I talked about this but the season of Lent was always kind of a mystery to me, something that both amused and mystified me as I
considered it one of the deeper aspects of faith. But it also came across to me as something trivial as I remember watching my playmates as a child claiming to give up sweets or meat on Friday or to stop punching their little sisters. It just seemed silly. But over the years I've come to see Lent as a deeply personal time and one in which I can devote a portion of my life directly to Jesus by sanctifying some aspect of myself. Well this year I decided to give up my negative thinking, something I am prone to fall into quite easily—usually it has nothing to do with anyone else, just myself. I am a worrier, a brooder. I tumble headlong into days of near despair over who I am and where I'm going and even where I have been. Well this is not what God wants for me. God wants me to be alive and vibrant and eager to face each day. So I have been working on the notion of taking every thought captive. That means to take the negative stuff that comes my way and shining the light of truth on it—God's truth. So when my heart condemns me I can say that in God's eyes I am his radiant daughter. So, how's this going for me, you might ask.
It's been up and down. I have had some real success with turning my thoughts over to God, setting them at the feet of Jesus and training, sometimes forcing myself to think in another direction. And it's been awesome. I tend not to wallow as long in the muck as I used too. Then there are the days when I can't seem to stop the downward spiral and I ponder all sorts of negative thoughts. I worry. I brood. I complain and am altogether totally unthankful for the goodness in my life and for that I need to confess and move on. It's as simple as that, my friends. Take it to Jesus and let him do the rest.
On the flip side is that taking every thought captive also reveals some ugly truths. One of the most hideous that God's light has uncovered these past few weeks is my tendency toward jealousy, coveting what other people have and not being satisfied or content with who I am and yes, what I posses. I have been jealous of what other people own and how many books they've sold. How silly is that? But I suppose that's the pruning that Jesus talked about. He needs to cut those branches of jealousy from me so I can grow better branches, healthier branches and hopefully bear fruit that is pleasing to him. Little green crabapples do not make Jesus glad.
So there you have it, my Lenten Special. Think good thoughts. It works.