Lent, money, and wisdom from a Sister

I’ve decided to give up money for Lent.  Well, sort of.  I know that sounds like an odd thing to give up.  A couple years back my Lent give up was vanity [I stopped wearing nearly all makeup and gave up all jewelry except my wedding ring].  A lot of folks give up a food item.  I’ve already subtracted meat from my diet, so I don’t really feel compelled to take out much more.  Plus, my husband is following an Orthodox Lenten calendar and is basically a vegan for 40 days.  And son Jamie is giving up meat for the season.  So, our family diets will be different for a while.  Social media seems to be a popular choice.  But. . . I’m not an over indulger in it.  Giving up tv wouldn’t be that much of a sacrifice for me.  That left me with money.
One reason I came to this is because our church is in the midst of a “Generous Life” series.  And my husband is in the midst of a job change, resulting in less income.  And my children keep bringing home notes from school asking for $20 for a field trip, $80 for an AP test, $5 for honor band pizza, etc.  I find myself thinking about money a lot.  Too much really.  And I need to stop.  For my own good; for my husband’s good.  For our children’s good.  Therefore, I’m going to stop focusing on it.  I’m going to free my mind of it.  When Chip starts his new job on Tuesday, I’m not going to ask him when his first pay day will be.  When Allie comes home after honor band rehearsal, I will not confirm she ate $5 worth of pizza or else brought back left overs.  I will not complain to Jamie about the $20 initiation fee for Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica.  Instead I will be thankful my kids are able to participate in such things.  I will be grateful my husband’s career path has taken him to where he’s at.  
I think I already trust God regarding money.  I know He provides.  I just get consumed in the thought process regarding my economic situation.  I over analyze and calculate and though I don’t wish I was rich, I do wish I could be free of the thoughts that bog me down.  The truth is I hate spending money.  Or more accurately, I hate the fact that life in my society suggests I have to use my resources on things that aren’t necessarily necessary or logical to me. 
That’s why I was happy that my {words to live by} today are self control.  Which led me to read this passage:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
         Be acceptable in Your sight,
         O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.  ~ Psalm 19:14

Honestly, I’m not truly giving up a luxury.  Maybe I’m not following correct Lenten protocol.  Really what I’m hoping to do instead of give up something, is add something.  I want to add time with God.  I’ve neglected that one on one time.  I’ve made excuses and I’ve allowed busyness to creep into my schedule.  I’ve let irrational, ridiculous and stupid thoughts have a place in my brain.  Beginning this morning, I took some time away, read the above passage, and breathed a sigh of relief.  I truly believe that God blesses us when we tithe our income.  Make us wealthy, no.  Give us a new car.  Most likely not.  But He’ll bless us.  And likewise, I believe when we give Him some time, He’ll bless us as well.  I’m opening the door I’d left half open.   

I’m to go shoe shopping with Allie this weekend.  Band requires her to wear black shoes to upcoming concerts.  May the meditation of my heart regarding shoes be pleasing to Him.  I will be reimbursed for snacks I purchase tomorrow for band reception refreshments.  May I not fret over the details and may the meditation of my heart regarding Kroger cookies be pleasing to Him.  We’ll soon be switching health care providers.  May the meditation of my heart regarding insurance companies be acceptable in His sight.  May I keep the door open and my mind free of the thoughts that bog me down and may I draw closer to Him this Lenten season.

Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been and are not. Lent is the grace to grieve for what we should have done and did not. Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not. Lent is not about penance. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.
Lent is a summons to live anew.
~ Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

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