Lenten Reflections: Letting Go of Expectations, Making Room for Contentment

I promise I didn’t sneak a peek at today’s devotion before I wrote yesterday’s thoughts.

But maybe it’s because I have a very, very close relationship with the potential for comparison and discontent that I linked the two even before reading Chole’s reflection.

See, it’s really, really easy to look at others whose lives are bigger, better and more beautiful and become bitter that mine isn’t.

And even when I am successful at taking material or spiritual blessings off the table of comparison, I’m left with rating suffering others are spared against the suffering I’ve been called to carry.

But like Judas-who was one of the Twelve, trusted disciple and invited guest to the Last Supper-if I allow discontent to gain a foothold I’m an easy target for the enemy.

“He doesn’t love you.” “He doesn’t care what happens to you.” He doesn’t even SEE you.” can lead my heart down a dark trail of despair where I’m not only acting against my own best interest but defaming the Name of my Shepherd King.

I work very hard at not letting the devil rent space in my head.

Sometimes it takes a practical turn and means walking away from social media or media in general. Sometimes it means wrestling “what ifs” and “whys” to the ground.

It ALWAYS means active effort on my part.

One of the fiercest allies of not-enough-ness is our imaginations. Today, fast daydreaming of “more”. Refuse to allow discontentment brain space. Each time you are tempted to picture your life with something else or something new or something different, stop. (Yes, I just said STOP.) And redirect your mental energy to thank God for anything in your current reality for which you can be grateful.

Alicia Britt Chole

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience**

Lenten Reflections: Fasting Comparison and Choosing Relationship

Today’s devotional is focused on Jesus in the Garden and the disciples He asked to keep watch and pray.

Three times the Lord went further into the garden, fell down sorrowing and returned to find His disciples asleep.

I identify both with Jesus begging His companions to keep watch and with the disciples for closing their heavy lids as sorrow overtook them. I want someone to be awake and alert, praying for me in my despair but can find it hard to do that for others as the weight of their sadness makes sleep a welcome escape.

If you have ever been exhausted from sorrow, you probably can empathize with the disciples. Summoning the will to keep watch in such seasons is strenuous. Sometimes I, like the disciples, have defaulted to my pillow instead of to prayer in the denial-laden hope that somehow all would be set right again when I opened my eyes.

Alicia Britt Chole

Discouragement and despair make us vulnerable to lies.

We are apt to begin to believe the dark whispers of the enemy of our soul who tells us that it doesn’t matter what we do or what we believe, God isn’t listening and doesn’t care.

But that’s simply not true.

Jesus fixed His eyes on the prize and prayed His way through to the courage and conviction necessary for the cross.

Comparison is the enemy of contentment.

And discontent is the root of bitterness.

When I compare how I think (because I really only see part) God is dealing with others with how He is dealing with me (again, I only see part of the picture) my heart can take a nasty turn down a path that leads me away from the very Father that loves me more than I can imagine.

Paul said, “I have learned to be content no matter where I am or what circumstances I find myself in” (paraphrased).

THAT is the foundation of faithful obedience and a life of willing sacrifice.

So today, quit comparing.

Stop basing your commitment to following Jesus on how you think He might be dealing with others.

Instead trust that the One who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**

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