Sunday, March 11, 2012

What a Writer Might Give Up for Lent

Ash Wednesday came and went more than two weeks ago. That evening my sons and I chuckled over what people give up for Lent--chocolate, French fries, sodas, TV--in the forty days of preparing for Easter.

The Youngest said, "Why not sin?"

A great idea! Giving up a good gift gives us a taste of the sufferings of Christ, but releasing the grip on favorite vices can be a sign of real repentance.

This is my first time to ponder this enigmatic season. It requires grasping two concurrent truths: my wretchedness sent my Beloved to an excruciating, humiliating death and that excruciating, humiliating death revealed my Beloved's incomparable glory. What's more, because death was powerless to hold Him, death is powerless to hold me.

So this season demands sober reflection on writerly sins:

        jealousy: Why don't I succeed like her?

        fear of man: What's the market? What do people want to 

        sloth: The writing will just work itself out.

        pity: Why does writing have to be so hard?

        comparison: Your work is okay, but mine is great.

        pride: I am all that.

They aren't just bad. They are death.

Oh, that this season would birth new life through believing God's words.

        As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in 
        whom is all my delight.

        I know that it will be well with those who fear God.

        Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and    
        befriend faithfulness.
        Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the 
        desires of your heart.
        Commit your way to the LORD; trust also in him, 
        and he will act.

        Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on 
        earth that I desire besides you.
        My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength 
        of my heart and my portion forever.

        Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some 
        of those who are commending themselves. But when they 
        measure themselves by one another and compare themselves
        with one another, they are without understanding.

        Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his 
        wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not 
        the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts 
        boast in this, that he understands and knows me, 
        that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice,    
        and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, 
        declares. the LORD."

        "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

He sears like an iron and pours balm on the wounds. Next year, this season, may you and I join the psalmist in this invitation:

        Come and hear, all you who fear God, 
        and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.

        (Scripture taken from Ps 16:3; Ecc 8:12; Ps 37:3-5;  
         Ps 73:25-26; 2 Cor 10:12; Jer 9:23; Jas 4:6; Ps 66:16,



  1. Thought provoking list for the writer's soul. Thanks, Renata.

    Oh to have the heart of that child who thinks it's as easy as saying give up sin. Still working on that, but am so grateful for the One who paid the price on Calvary for me even when I slip up.

  2. I just got over here to read this, Renata, and this is stunningly beautiful. I loved it.

    I'm putting it in my file for when I need encouragement and it is something to feed my soul in this season so special for Christians. Every year, too, I struggle over Lent, trying to really discover what it is that separates me from my Savior. It makes sense to me. Thank you.

  3. Such a beautiful reminder for this blessed time of year. Thanks for this lovely post.

  4. Very good, as always.

    Okay, two Lent jokes.

    First, when Dave Wilson was on WIBC, he had an ad where he mentioned he gave up answering the phone for Lent. Hey, that's a good one for writers!

    The following was read in Reader's Digest. A couple were encouraging their son to give up something for Lent like candy.
    "But what are you giving up?"
    "But what was that you were drinking at dinner?"
    "Wine. We're giving up hard liquor."
    The boy thought a moment. "Okay. I'll give up hard candy."