As Lent moves on into its final weeks, I can see an interesting, and very unexpected, synchronicity between the things God has been teaching me, and the ways He’s done it!I have been very influenced by the following things:
- Beginning to recover from a thyroid virus
- Being on steroids throughout Lent for that virus
- Reading your Pause in Lent posts
- Reading Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
- Writing a Gratitude Journal
- Writing Morning Pages
- Studing the Bible using my New Daylight Bible notes
- Reading Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, for what shockingly turns out to be the first time (yes, of course I’d seen the film, and I did THINK I’d read the book too!)
- A little blogging conversation between myself and the charming Finnish blogger of Temps Perdu (who currently has a giveaway - do pop over)
- Speaking to the MOPS group at Toulouse International Church on Going Green in a Godly Way
- A blogging link to The Happiness Project, given to me by Maisey of Masiey’s Attic
- Continuing on the Challenge of the Utmost Kind
It is that simplicity of life, lived honestly with God, is, amongst other things, dependent on understanding myself.
Here we go to the Dashwood sisters. Marianne responded to her emotions by firstly indulging in every one of them, and afterwards by deciding that they were to be rejected or repressed because they’d failed her and her family. Glad things turned out OK in the end, although in very 19th century style…
Elinor (with maturity that Jane Austen was surely very generous to give her at the age of only 19) understood, recognised and valued her emotions, and then decided which ones would most helpfully be nurtured, and which ones should be recognised but not allowed to negatively affect her family and life.
Unfortunately, my little bloggy conversation made me reflect that, whilst I may quite look like a Jane Austen character with my curly fringe, I can’t claim either the sense of Elinor or the sensibility of Marianne. Instead, I feel I’m most like Emma, who, if I remember rightly from my A-level studies, was clever and decisive and thought that she knew best for everyone, whilst hardly knowing her own emotions, let alone recognising what was truly good for other people. In case you think I’m being unfair on myself, remember that Emma is a very likeable character, and ended up being played by Gwyneth Paltrow, so let’s not think I’m knocking myself too much!
But your Pauses in Lent, my personal reflections through various media, and the way that all of the influences I listed above seemed to draw me back to authenticity, simplicity, reflection, self-discipline and gratitude before my loving Father God. I didn’t plan the Pause in Lent thinking that things would come together like this, and I’m grateful that God has used it that way in my life.
- Writing down what I’m feeling shows me why I allowed certain things to build up and cause problems – when I wasn’t writing them down, I wasn’t recognising either what bothered me or what was important to me.
- I want to keep my house tidy because I want to live in a tidy house, not because Ben or the boys need it or because other people will judge me for having a messy home. That isn’t motivation enough for me (perhaps sadly). But I just want to live an orderly life for ME.
- Multi-tasking is over-rated and tends to lead to everything (children, blogging, housework, phonecalls etc) being done badly. Do one thing at a time and enjoy each one.
- With that in mind, I’ve learnt where the computer off-switch is, both on the machine and in my head! I’ve noticed a LOT of bloggers doing that recently, some specifically for Lent, and others just because it feels like time to focus on something or someone else. This is not to say that blogging isn’t great – in fact it’s your authenticity that’s got me to this stage, bloggers! But it’s just that I’m learning that a specific time for blogging, and proper time devoted to the rest of life, is better than trying to run several things alongside each other.