What does it mean to be free? What does it mean to simply be?
When I am asked to describe myself, I often reply that I am PWLawyerMom - I am a pastor's wife ("PW"), lawyer, and mom of three amazing kids. PWLawyerMom is an accurate description of my roles in society, but this is not who I am. I've been so consumed with "doing", that I have forgotten what it means to "be". This blog explores my journey as I find the freedom to simply be.
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I did not grow up observing Lent. Now, I love Lent.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday (which is tomorrow), Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities. It is a time of self-examination and self-denial.
For years, our church has challenged people to not only give up something, but also to take on something. If you have not observed Lent and are trying to decide what to give up, you can look at it a number of ways. You can give up something that you feel like distracts you from your relationship with God (people have given up television, social media, etc.) You can also give up something that you feel like you rely on to much or "need" too much. For example, people sometimes give up soft drinks, desert, etc. By giving up something that you crave, it forces you to turn to God when you would normally turn to something else for comfort. I have also given up things that I believe are detrimental to my soul in the past. For example, one year, I gave up "negative self-talk." The act of sacrifice during Lent helps us focus on the sacrifices of Christ. Historically, some people would fast. I have also had friends that try to fast from a meal each day of Lent.
We also encourage people to "take on" a new habit or discipline. For example, some friends have committed to daily Bible study, daily gratitude, or taking on other habits throughout the season of Lent.
Each week, Sunday is excluded from Lent. This means that you can "indulge" in whatever you give up on Sundays.
This year I am giving up all "electronics" between 6 pm and 9 pm. The only exception is that I can watch a television show with my entire family if they choose to do that for part of our family time. I have found that social media, responding to work emails, online shopping, and similar activities distract me from valuable time with my family. I could also use that time to relax, craft, read, or do other more beneficial activities. I am also "taking on" leading an online Bible study. The study will help me read and reflect on the life of Jesus each day.
Have you observed Lent in the past? If so, what have you given up or taken on? What do you love or dislike about Lent? Have you learned any lessons from the season of Lent?
For years, my oldest son has been obsessed with football. This summer, before he started ninth grade, he begged to play for his high school team. My husband and I discussed it, and we agreed that our son could play. However, we both knew that there was a good chance that the practices in the grueling heat, getting tackled, and the hard work would eventually lead our son to decide football was not for him.
Just after school started, we had a parent’s meeting. In the meeting, the coach told us about his philosophy. He told us that he didn’t allow players to play based on skill alone. He wanted his players to work to play. The more effort a player put in during the practice, the more likely it was that he would play.
He then told us a story. He said that he had this skinny freshman that would not stop. He said every time the player missed a pass, he asked the coaches how he could do better. He said that when other players were resting, this player was asking someone to throw passes so …
I am constantly looking for tips and tricks to be more efficient. I recently discovered an app that allows me to organize my “To Do List” by categories. The app even has a challenge to complete a set number of tasks each day.
When I first started using the app, I was excited. I had categories for work, home, family, shopping, and travel. I wrote down all of the items I needed to do and assigned due dates. After the first week, I was going strong. I either checked off an item as complete (that is the most amazing feeling in the world – to cross an item off of a to do list), or I changed the due date to give me more time.
Fast forward a few weeks to this moment. I now have 33 uncompleted items on my personal list. I have even more items that need to be completed on my work list. When I look at the list, I feel my heartbeat race, and I feel the crushing weight of anxiety in my chest. The app that was supposed to help me feel more organized and efficient has become another item…
Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9-10 (MSG)
My husband is a master gift giver. No matter what the occasion may be, he always surprises me. He makes a sport of it, and each year he strives to outdo himself. The gifts are not always expensive, but he works to find a personalized gift that meets a specific need that I have or that he knows I will enjoy.
We live in a culture that is cultivating consumerism. At Christmas, every advertisement is beautifully created to convince you at an emotional level that if you receive the perfect gift, you will be forever filled with joy. The advertisers are so skillful that they have even made me cry during diaper commercials!
My husband is an excellent gift giver because he doesn’t fall prey to the culture of consumerism. Instead of mindlessly purchasing the latest hot item, he carefully listens as I mention an item I may need or an activity I want to try. He then lovingly…