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"Sokath, his eyes open!"

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

—Ephesians 1:11-23


Wonderful Community Group last night. The Spirit broke through and everyone seemed to get it, to begin to understand that we who are Christians do indeed have a certain hope to which He has called us, a rich and glorious inheritance, and an immesurably great power within us—the very same power that raised Christ from the dead and set Him over all. We began to see that we can pray for one another in this spirit, that if our eyes become open to these realities—more real than anything we tend to worry about—the importance of more self-absorbed matters about which we tend to pray (if we pray at all) simply vanishes. At the end we prayed in this way for one another, perhaps the first time many of us have heard another pray for us like that.

Lent begins today, a season when Christians invite God to examine our hearts, in order to draw us closer to Himself. I get excited for it, perhaps because of the honesty that comes with the season. It's a good time to stop bullshitting and let God work on me.

I haven't fully formed the discipline and fasting I'm undertaking for Lent this year (doing so is a fairly new practice for me), but here are a few parameters:
  • Use Instant Messengers only during my work lunch hour, and not during off hours
  • Read Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Dine out no more than twice weekly (unless with others)
  • Have coffee out no more than twice weekly (unless with others)
  • Eliminate soda
  • Get up between 6:00 and 7:00 for devotional time on workdays
  • Take lunch between 12:00 and 13:00 on workdays
  • Go to bed between 22:00 and 23:00 on workdays
  • Make my bed daily
  • Call family weekly
  • Get together with friends (outside of work and Community Group) weekly
  • A limit on daily television time (haven't put a number to this yet; I need to)
  • Maybe a weekly fast day
My main focus is not taking on new things, but letting discipline help me release obstacles to being close to God and living faithfully. More specifically, my pattern of going in so many directions at once is destructive. Not only is it a manifestation of my self-idolatry—I want to be infinite—but it's also wrecking me. I'm not infinite. I have limits, and I'm going to live a more faithful and abundant life when I respect them.

So much multitasking has contributed to an attention span of about 45 seconds. Instead, I want to be present more and more. I want to invest in my relationships more deliberately, with emails, letters, phone calls, and visits rather than random snippets between switching windows. I want to invest my money more deliberately, rather than letting it all trickle out on coffee and dining out. I want to invest my time more deliberately, to listen, watch, read, think, do, and be without constant interruption.

Here goes.

Comments

So glad CG went well.

That's an impressive list you have there. Will be praying it for you.
My list is pretty simple, really—it's just long. And most of the disciplines would be good to hold onto beyond Lent. It's just a good indicator of how undisciplined I've let myself become.

a blessed lent to you.

i like what you say about discipline which reveals and releasees obstacles; it is so true.

the sermon this morning when i went to the service was about "fasting is exerting spiritual control about what comes in to you." i was sort of upset about that. i understand what i think he is trying to say, but in reality it was that way of thinking in me where i became anorexic...

and i *love* that episode of the next generation. might try to watch it tonight.

Re: a blessed lent to you.

Some of my thoughts on that were shaped by my skimming of this excellent article barlow_girl shared with me yesterday.

I think I might have issues with that sermon as well. I'm becoming a big fan of seeing discipline in light of freeing me to be more dependent on God rather than (just) as a control issue. Most of us, even in our lack of discipline, are trying to control too much, not too little.

calledisrael and banzai, at LiveJournal.

Re: a blessed lent to you.

Sokath, his eyes open!

calledisrael and banzai, at LiveJournal.


nice.

Re: a blessed lent to you.

itspoetry, her arms wide!

same places?

God's been knocking at my door in this way as well...

so much so, that I copied your list and pasted it into a word doc to print out.
apart from a few minor changes ( i don't IM very much) it's pretty much the same.

i'm always amazed and encouraged at how the same Truths are gleamed from things that happened so long ago ;)

I guess living in New England, I'm always expecting more differences between believers, with all the denominations that make my head spin.

So it's comforting to know that these Truths are the same no matter where you go.

Just another view of the Awesomeness of it all, I guess.

Re: same places?

Isn't it amazing? It's almost as if we were one Church, bound by one Spirit. ;)
Good luck with you fast :)
Thanks. I'm praying for you and Kate in this time as well; I just haven't been much of a commenter.
I know what you mean about multitasking. My inner cadence is far quicker paced than it should be due in part to multitasking. May this be a refreshing time for you.
For you as well. I'm still pretty excited about the prospect of reclaiming the ability to focus and rest. Having a relationship with God—or anyone—without that ability is a real chore.
*notes IM limitations* :P

I love the multi-tasking thing - I might have to adopt it. I was going to give up sex for Lent, but that's better.

I may actually call you instead. Crazy, I know.

Oh, don't give up sex! That's just more crazy talk!
It would be crazy to think I could live without sex.


Oh wait.
"So much multitasking has contributed to an attention span of about 45 seconds. Instead, I want to be present more and more. I want to invest in my relationships more deliberately, with emails, letters, phone calls, and visits rather than random snippets between switching windows."

That's me. All over the place, that's me. *sigh*