A Series of Confessions in Which I Impress No One
It’s been a week since Lent began, and I’m off to a shaky start. For starters, I quite possibly shouldn’t even be writing this post, what with Jesus’ whole thing about not advertising your fast and all. But since nothing I’m about to say will sound remotely impressive, I think I’m going to go with the intent rather than the letter of the law on this one. (So slow your roll, Judgy Judgerson. I know you were itching to go there.)
I wrote last week about seeking to give up that which charms me most so that I could focus instead on God. The idea wasn’t to get rid of something bad; it was to get rid of something good that had taken an inordinate precedence in my life. I hoped that if I disengaged from a variety of fascinating, easily accessible, and– let’s face it– distracting online conversations, I would be able to engage instead with God.
But I have a little problem with my Bible in which I don’t read it. Sure, I’ll refer to it from time to time to find a verse that I want to suit my purpose (see: first paragraph ), but I have to be in nearly soul-wrenching distress to actually pick the hard copy off my closet shelf and read it. So if God hasn’t shown up with great fanfare this first week, I can safely assume it’s because I haven’t really made much effort to invite Him.
What I have done this week, however, is perfect the art of substitution. I let my Facebook and Twitter friends know that, until Easter, I’d only be popping on to deal with business (not to be a fast-flaunting douche, but to avoid being a friend-ignoring snot). And then I almost immediately set about expanding the parameters of “business.”
I did stay off Facebook and Twitter except to deal with business, mostly. But I had set only the flimsiest of rules for other online interactions. And I tend to be a little on the anti-authoritarian side, even when I’m the authority.
So when I needed to email a friend about serving on the worship team, I decided this was fine. And then I took the opportunity to tell him all about the awesome upright bass at an otherwise terrible punk psychobilly show and to question him as to the origin and extent of such instrumentation, resulting in an unnecessary three-email conversation.
Another friend wrote a fun blog post, so I decided I could read it, which I did with great enjoyment. And then I commented, replied to his reply, then checked out the blog of every single other commenter and commented and replied to them.
And it didn’t even take me the whole failed week to see that unless I replace my distractions with God– unless I replace them with true satisfaction– I will find another distraction to slip into place with alarming speed and ease.
But one of the cool things about God–and I don’t say that to be flippant– is that He will kind of say, “So this is where you want to play, huh? Okay, game on.” And I know this because during my week of only-partially-fasting-but-sort-of-not-really, He showed up online, right in the middle of a blog post I was reading to avoid Him.
My ridiculously talented friend Wes drew a comic that asked his readers to consider whether there’s a difference between a believer and a disciple. And I saw that I wasn’t the kind of believer or disciple that I want to be, so I gave in to God where I clearly wasn’t winning anyway, and I actually read that old book on my shelf. And He showed up at the invitation.
If you’re fasting for Lent, how’s it going? Where do you hide from God?
And have you ever seen an upright bass at a rock show? It’s pretty rad.