I do this every year.
I have these great plans for Lent. I’m not just going to give up chocolate, heck no. I’m going to totally remake my life. I’m gonna be a new man. I’m going to put my entire life back in order in one fell swoop.
Heck yea! I’m gonna man it up! I can do it! I’m going to start that exercise regime! I’m going to read the entire bible by the end of Lent! I’m going to pray like a monk in a cloister! I’m going to get all my business in perfect order! I’m one tough guy!
Then I pull it all off for one day, namely, Ash Wednesday, and by the end of the day I’m so exhausted I can hardly stand it.
Today is my own personal reconciliation day. It is always the first Thursday of Lent, and it always sucks.
It is today that I always wish I were a better man than I am.
I am not. I am just me, and while I think I can perform my way into sanctity, today is always the day the Lord reminds me how weak I truly am. I really cannot do anything without Him at all. It’s altogether humbling. I suppose that is the point.
Today, I really understand St. Paul in a way that most of the year, I must admit I frankly miss.
“Yet it was only through the law that I came to know sin. I should never have known what evil desire was unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”” Romans 7:7
“I cannot even understand my own actions. I do not what I want to do but what I hate.” Romans 7:15
“So with my mind, I serve the law of God but with my flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:25
It’s maddening. I simply am unable to do what I know should be done.
There is hope in this of course. I look at how I have changed over the years, and the wonders that God has worked in my soul and in my life, and I know that change is happening. God is moving even though I cannot. Every task I try to perform for Him seems to fall flat on it’s face, and yet, I am not the same man as I was ten years ago.
I may not like that God has not just remade me, given me strength instead of weakness, but I have to admit that His process is most definitely working, and mine is not.
He is quite seriously, divinely effective.
I suppose this Thursday is a good reminder that I cannot lean upon myself, but instead must be carried by Him.
Lord, remake me into yourself. (the sooner the better!)