Failing at Lent | Lent 16

March 8, 2012

“God comes to you disguised as your life.” Paula D’Arcy

+ + +

By now, you’ve likely fallen.

Several people have already confessed to me.  Having given up wine or chocolate or television, they’ve fallen to the dreaded temptation!  Someone even thought they could endure a Lent without American Idol.  But Ryan, Randy, and the rest played the role of tempter, and Lent’s discipline came to an abrupt end.

These moments are not necessarily failures, but profound opportunities to see God at work in subtle ways.  I was speaking with a woman the other day who’d experienced a frantic few days of work.  She was angry and on edge.  That night, she opened her favorite bottle of wine and drank most of it.  As we talked, we were able to see what was happening ‘behind-the-scenes’.  The chaos of work and relationships left her feeling anxious, a feeling she usually numbs with a few drinks or exercise or a night of television.  Looking at her life, she began to notice a pattern.  But her response was alarming – “I guess I should quit drinking, exercising, and entertainment!”

“No way,” I said.  “That’s not the point.”

What is the point?  The point is that her self-proclaimed ‘failure’ led to a good conversation about her way of doing life.  We began to explore how much she invests in looking good and performing at work.  She began to see how much she needs approval in relationships.  In other words, a larger pattern of life emerged.  And in discovering deeper roots of anxiety, disappointment, and longing, she was able to put her finger on how much she’d invested in an entire addictive pattern of workaholism and codependency.

And then it hit her.  Tears streamed to her eyes as she said, “I avoid feeling.  I can’t deal with loneliness, disappointment, emptiness.”  As she said this, she realized how distant she felt from God, and how deeply she longed for a more satisfying Love.

Paula D’Arcy says, “God comes to you disguised as your life.”  He comes disguised as your failures and struggles.  And He’s waiting to break through even now, even amidst your Lenten disappointment.

+ + +

View Comments posted in Lent