20 Mar 2022

Lenten Devotional, Day 16, Have Fun, (episode 76)

Posted By

I gave myself a much break this weekend.  Saturday was an extremely long day due to an out-of-town meeting. Plus, the day followed a series of long days and late nights. I can’t describe how tired I was. I had to pull over and nap in my car to safely drive home.

So when I finally got home Saturday evening, I made a judgment call to forego writing up my sit spot time and producing my podcast until Sunday. In over fifteen years of Lenten disciplines, I can’t tell you when I have ever not delivered on my intention.

This was a wise choice though, not only would I have overextended myself physically, I don’t have any doubt staying up excessively late would have been detrimental to worship as well. I gave myself a break because being a good steward of my health and responsibilities outweighed being legalistic about my commitment.

I definitely didn’t make this choice lightly though. My experience has been that if you get in a make-up mindset, meaning, “Oh, I’ll make it up later,” then the choice becomes the beginning of the end of a discipline. Consequently, I tend to be ruthless uncompromising with Lenten commitments.

I also included another form of break. I gave myself a mental rest in the process. My pattern for sit spot times is to give thanks, observe for ten to fifteen minutes, and then write-up extensive notes. For this sit, I chose to focus almost all of my observation on a large Pecan tree, and rather than write-up notes, I sketched the tree during my ten to fifteen minutes.

This was a great way to shift up my outdoor meditation practice. Drawing engaged more parts of my brain in the observation process. Plus, illustrating what you see is a great way to internalize an experience.

Furthermore, I wanted to sharpen what I’m beginning to internalize. I realized this the other day as I was recalling watching squirrels and a woodpeckers on one particular tree. I realized I was recalling the tree in vivid detail. I could track multiple limbs in my imagination. Drawing was only going to help.

Drawing can be a great way to internalize scripture as well. Even if you don’t fancy yourself an artist, you can try to capture Bible stories in pictures. Stick figure cartoons can be enough to get the job done. The main thing is that if you try to illustrate a bible story, you will never forget the story ever again, even if your artwork stinks.

All of this is to say, take your spiritual discipline seriously, but don’t get hyper-legalistic to your detriment or others. Have fun and give yourself a break every once in a while. The change will keep you from burning out and keep you engaged.

Questions: What is something in your faith you tend to be legalistic about? How can you give yourself a break, and yet still be true to your intention? What adaptation is needed?

A Collect for Discernment: Holy God, whose wisdom far exceeds ours, help to see clearly the highest priority when our values are conflicted, so that we may  resist legalism and give you the glory, in Christ’s precious name we ask. Amen

Leave a Reply