I’m going to do something a little different for the next 6 weeks/posts. It’s Lent (in case you missed it 😉 ) and there a lovely wee thing going on called 40acts – basically shedloads of Jesus Disciples all over the place taking Lent seriously and approaching it a little differently. Over 40 days I and many more like me will be undertaking 40 deliberate acts of kindness, gratitude, meditation and general “discipleyness” – instead of the usual giving something up for Lent.
I don’t plan on posting every day – but hey, I might get too excited, you know how I like to go on! I will be chronicling what is going on through lent and the 40acts challenge along with my random musings. I’d really recommend signing up to the 40acts site, they helpfully send you an email each day with an idea of what to do for that day – great for a INFJ like me who is crappy at making decisions ^_^ . I’d also really recommend popping over to My Friend at Pause Ponder Prepare as she is posting daily and it’s looking great so far – she writes with clarity and honesty and with a lovely tone, I always enjoy her words – Great job Bexeh!!
So, the story so far…..
Day 1 – Following a rather pleasant Shrove Tuesday (father actually made the pancakes – Result!!) it was only right that we start our lent with gratitude. I already maintain a Journal, so that was no biggie, but to write what I’m grateful for? Some days I find it almost impossible to be grateful (yep, being totally honest here) mainly because I focus on all the things that have been torn away from me – should I be grateful for losing my mum? Should I be grateful for losing my mind? Should I be grateful for the constant “no, not today” I get from friends? But actually, I am grateful for all those things – because I’m grateful I had an amazing mum in the first place; I’m grateful I have been blessed with a pretty damn great mind; I’m grateful to know true love, grace and daily forgiveness; I’m grateful to have friends who despite me thinking they always say no (that’s on my bad days) actually they say yes many many more times. They laugh with me, they nag me – in a nice way of course – they accompany me, they share their stories and trust me with them, they catch me when I fall and let me catch them. Oh yes, I’m certainly grateful for my dear ones. You guys ROCK! x
Day 2 – And after all that gratitude – the next logical step is to spread the blessings of my life generously. So the birth of the Lenten Generosity jar – which beside coins has some Asda Charity tokens in there too, hehe. Each day over Lent I’ll be adding to the jar, but I will likely add “promises” rather than change/cash – as to me, the real heart of generosity isn’t about sopping others with money, but giving exuberantly the things that really matter – to give the things that I would like to get: Time, energy, service, encouragement, hugs, a smile. I’ll still put my change in there, because yes, there are people who need that money, but I think that when we focus just on money we can lose what it is to be actually Kind and Generous – we salve our conscience by throwing a penny when the real pain is in the heart. It needs both. We need both.
Day 3 – And so for today I’m challenged to list the contents of my “toolbox” – the things that make me unique, uniquely able to serve, bless and help. It’s an odd coincidence that this challenge comes at this time of year – at work this is when we’re all beavering away to prepare for our end of year appraisals. And you know what I really hate about appraisals – I just hate listing all the things I’m good at, I hate singing my own praises, I feel uncomfortable and just wrong. But I know also that God gave me gifts, gifts I can use to bless others and without taking a look at myself and a look at those gifts (or “tools”) how can I know the best way to share with those around me, how can I know what it is I have to offer to make someone else’s life that bit easier. And so I made a list (privately of course, I’m still growing) and looking at that list I hear the voice of Jesus with such clarity, and feel his smile with such warmth and those blessings are going to stand me in good stead for lifting up others around me, for waking them up, for raising their hopes. Which one of my tools did I use to bless someone today? That would be Tenacity – got a great result for more than one person today. On to greater things tomorrow!