Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Friday

18

March 2011

37

COMMENTS

A Series of Confessions in Which I Impress No One

Written by , Posted in faith, humor, life, Uncategorized

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.

  • http://altonwoods.wordpress.com altonwoods

    Because our hearts are open to God He knows our true intent and loves us despite all of our weakness’s and failings!

    I’m so thankful that His grace abounds toward us!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thankful along with you.

  • http://www.somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Great stuff Tamara!
    I’m right there with you, but this year I abstained from Lent. Mostly because I plum forgot about it even though I married a Lutheran. I’m definitely one of those “living sacrifices” who keeps getting up & down off the alter, but has the best of intentions (or at least would like to think I do).

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      You abstained from Lent! *snort*

  • http://www.randomlychad.com randomlychad

    This post is full of win! You’re brave in your forthrightness, and this is so encouraging to me. Keep rocking’ it!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      And *that* is encouraging to me. Thank you.

  • http://www.wildmikebennett.com/blog M!ke

    Haha, God is kind of a show-off sometimes. The other day I broke Sabbath to get some work done – until every single thing I tried to do failed in completely improbable ways.

    Lent for me is going ok – the devotional book I said I was going to read ended up not even shipping til next week, so I’m already 9 days behind on that. Hope you are encouraged by what you’re reading in the Bible.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Well if the book hasn’t arrived, I don’t see how you can be at fault. Then again, I may not be the *best* adviser on these matters. 😉

  • http://www.jcwert.com Jason

    “And have you ever seen an upright bass at a rock show? It’s pretty rad.”

    Yeah, they are…I love an upright bass on stage. Even in non-rock shows they’re still cool…a jazz group to me isn’t a jazz group without an upright.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Finally. Thank you! 😉

  • http://www.sistersadist.com Cam

    Funny I just wrote yesterday about the concept of unplugging for a while. Good luck lovely lady! And upright basses ROCK!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Evidently they do. 🙂

  • Stacy

    I quit smoking. It is a bitch. I haven’t smoked at all so that’s been successful. Now I need to get the mindless eating under control so that doesn’t just replace one bad habit with another. So, I’m cranky, but maybe Jesus was a little cranky too until he forgot what food even was. Right? But when it is really bad I send up a request for some comfort. I’m at the guilt stage and ticked at the damage I may have done over the past 15 years. Not hiding from God, but plenty mad at anything and everything. Bass player in BNL plays an upright. Brilliant!

    Upright bass in BNL shows. That man is an amazing musician.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Sending up a little request for you.

  • Stacy

    Didn’t mean to post the bass thing twice. I’m cranky but not forgetful…couldn’t see the bottom of my comment.

  • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com RawFaithRealWorld

    So I decided to do something productive and give up stress for Lent this year. That sounded like a good idea except for being in the middle of a refi, income taxes due, losing students due to the rise in gas prices, massive destruction in Japan, life in general thing. So I decided to try giving up worry for lent instead. I realize giving up worry isn’t like giving up hamburgers or other stuff, but for me I tend to hold on to it like a giant turd that is just stinkin’ up the place. I didn’t think there was a snowflakes chance in hell to see it through, and it hasn’t been 100 percent but it has been a good time, and I’ve had the renewed sense that God has my back.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      So encouraged to hear about your renewed sense of God’s having your back– what a beautiful thing.

  • http://www.hopefulleigh.blogspot.com HopefulLeigh

    I love this Tamara! The replacing part can be tricky. I find I have to drag myself to create new habits, even though I know that’s what I want and need. And yet, God still meets us where we are and shows us that which is better.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I’m still kind of blown away thinking about how He really does meet us where we are, wherever we are. Amazing grace.

  • http://www.whimsywords.blogspot.com/ Julie Anne

    finally got around to reading this… so understand the replacing one distraction with another!! i am good at that!
    I said I would be fasting from complaining during lent… and it’s been a heck of a week!! Hoping we both spend some time in His word these weeks!!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I assume “heck of a week” isn’t a complaint, then. 😉

  • http://theupsidedownpastorswife.blogspot.com Shanda

    I gave up facebook, but it’s gone just about as well as your week. I found an excuse to send “private” notes to a few people from church, and ~of course~ I still had to “private” message my friends that had birthdays. I can’t seem to take the icon off my phone, either! What if someone sends me a message, and I miss it? YES, sadly, I do realize my sickness here… So all the judgy judgers can hold there tongues about me as well. The point is exactly the one you made here. I need to stop filling the void with all of the other junk (the junk can be good stuff~ LOVE that you clarified that!). Just give me Jesus. For this time and space, and beyond…. The beauty is that we can readjust our focus, dust off our pants, and go forward from here. I LOVE your heart! So glad I found your blog! 🙂

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thank you so much.

  • http://educlaytion.wordpress.com educlaytion

    I think many people would say they need to read the Word more. That’s a struggle lots of folks can relate to. I feel kind of bad to make you ruin lent and all with our fun tournament 😉 So I probably shouldn’t tell you that I updated the thing with results *whistles innocently*. I can barely see the screen as I type because I spent last night at an all nighter with 100 senior high kids. So Imma get goin but know that your terrific. I love the honesty about struggling w/ commitments. We all feel that.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      You sly dog.

  • http://meetthebuttrams.wordpress.com Meet the Buttrams

    “That which charms me most.”
    Spot on. And I love how you put that.

    When I told my Hubs what I was giving up for Lent, he said, “Really? No. Really?!” That’s when I knew I made the right decision and not some half-assed attempt like, I think I’ll give up my Converse sneakers, or something equally weird and irrelevant.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Well, I wouldn’t call Converse irrelevant (see: “What the Chuck?”). But point taken. Right on. 🙂

  • http://christiannoob.wordpress.com The Christian Noob (n00b)

    I visited your friend Wes’ blog/website. I liked his comics.

    I couldn’t have said it better. 🙂

    “I replace my distractions with God.”

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I’m so glad you checked out his site. He’s awesome.

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  • Stephen

    We’re doing a poetry reading group for Lent at the Christian Study Center. Last week we read Madeleine L’Engle’s “For Lent, 1966.” Definitely worth reading (I think you can find it on Google Books)–the poem deals with the question of choice: who is in control of what we choose to give up for Lent, and is it our choice at all?

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      That sounds interesting, especially since it’s by L’Engle. Thanks!

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy

    I’m so indecisive I couldn’t decide what I would sacrifice for Lent. And I don’t like sacrificing. So nothing seemed “right” to sacrifice, which is to say that I wasn’t willing to give anything up. Which then proved to me that I don’t love God enough because I won’t even sacrifice a little something for 40 days.

    I need to fast from sleeping in. That’s what I need to do. If I can figure out to get out of my d^&%^ bed before 7am. The *&^%^* daylight savings time change has ruined my good habits.

    And now I’ll stop ranting on your blog. 🙂

  • Pingback: Lent: trying so hard to behave « The Christian Noob (n00b)()

  • Robert

    Hi Tamara- just happened upon your blog via a link from your groupblog. You touch upon struggles i think are so common and since they are we may try to sweep them under the rug?? I really enjoy your writing style. Your humor comes across very clearly,which makes the serious stuff stand out more. Here’s to taking that Book off the shelf and reading it more!!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thanks so much for visiting Deeper Story and Tamara Out Loud! And thanks, too, for the kind words. 🙂

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