In an earlier post in this Lenten series I spoke about being ambivalent about participating in the practice of giving something up for Lent.
I will say that one benefit of the practice of giving something up for Lent is that you are pretty much bound to fail.
And in a way that is the point. Lent makes us remember that we are not good enough. Those little inspirational posters that tell you can do anything if you just try hard enough, they lie. We can’t do everything. In fact, there are many things I can’t do even when I put my mind to it and give it my best.
Because I am only human. Because I am fallen. Broken. Mortal.
There are real limits to what I can do.
And sometimes in this “pull ourselves up by our boostraps/ self made man” world we need to remember that we are limited by our humanity.
This year though I have not purposefully given up a specific “thing”, I am finding that our move from one house to another is becoming a Lenten practice for me. There are many things I have to let go of. Stuff. The house where we made ten years of child rearing memories. Any sense of order or control.
As we spent the weekend getting our old house ready to go on the market tomorrow, I found myself brought to my knees over and over again. My negative thinking told me we would never get it ready on time. It would never be clean enough. It would never be orderly enough. It would never be pretty enough to compete against the other houses out there on the market.
At the end of the day, it really wasn’t just my house that I believed wasn’t good enough.
It was that I wasn’t good enough.
And in many ways this is true.
But hopefully Lent reminds me that not being good enough is not a curse but a gift.
Throughout the day yesterday as we were cleaning and organizing I kept uttering phrases under my breath. “Christ have mercy, Sweet Jesus help me, or simply O LORD help.”
At some point one of my kids called me out and said, “Mom you need to quit taking the Lord’s name in vain.” After thinking about it for a minute I said, “You know I don’t think I am, I think I am actually praying.”
You see when we are brought to our knees by not being “good enough” we turn to the one we know IS. The one who is strong enough, patient enough, creative enough to accomplish whatever is before us.
Learning to die to my own ego and asking for Christ’s help everyday is a big part of what the disciplines of Lent mean to me.
When I can not only remember my own humanity, but remember and turn to God’s divinity, then I am at least headed in the right direction.
For when I turn to Christ and lean on his power, my not being good enough is more than enough.
For it leads me to rest in grace. And wherever I may be, the arms of grace are what truly bring me home.