I have been having a tough time this Lent. I knew I would. As I said in my Ash Wednesday post, it’s easier for me to pick something concrete to give up or add, but focusing and reflecting and taking time to be a better disciple is much, MUCH harder. I’ve been spending most of my time grappling with crippling perfectionism, a struggle I bump up against again and again since becoming a parent. This month’s theme was belief and as the month draws to a close, I realize I didn’t write about it that much. It’s hard for me to write these kind of entries, mostly because I am wary of communicating deeply held spiritual beliefs and struggles via this medium. I don’t mind having long talks about it in person,where I can see reactions and more easily clarify thoughts.
There’s more though… one of my favorite quotes since I first heard it in high school is: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” It’s a quote commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assissi. The changes I want to make have to do with better preaching the Gospel through my actions. In some ways, I think I do that pretty well. In other ways, I have a long way to go and the changes will not be fast or easy, but I will continue to seek them.
I keep wanting to scrap this entry and write about something easier. I feel like others who have it more together should be talking about this, or at the very least could say it better… but then I think of the original disciples.
I’m not alone in feeling flustered, in not having the words, in feeling like I have a long way to go and wondering what to do next. Peter was best buds with Christ and still denied him- 3 times in a row. (side note and fun story: my sophomore year of high school one of my best friends took to calling me Peter in religious class to express our status of being besties… she explained that she needed to be Jesus because she was taller… Ah youth.) I’ve been reading a lot about St. Ignatius this past year and he was a perfectionist like me. And just like me he went through cycles of throwing himself into things full force, only to find he was disappointing himself with his own self imposed expectations. It’s comforting to know I’m in good company.
I guess I’m done with this entry. Here’s something this entry has in common with my Lenten practices: not only it was hard, but I really didn’t feel like updating today. But I did because it has been a while and sometimes you just need to put in the work. It’s the discipline part of spiritual disciplines, right?
Trying to get ready for the final push towards holy week. Going to try and write it out more between now and then.
2 thoughts on “Belief: Lenten update”
Sometimes I miss a post or two, but I just wanted to say two things. First: yes. Yes, it’s hard, it’s so very hard. And second: It’s a hard thing you do extremely well. Everyone who knows you at all sees your glowing love for the people around you. Your conscientious fight for truth in your self but also in the messages you hear and see spreading. That’s a pretty good spreading of the gospel– to my eye. Love you!
Thank you Clara, that is one of the most beautiful compliments I’ve ever received. I miss tea times with you so very much 🙂