The Taser's Edge

Lenten Devotion 1.2.2–Letting Go
March 7, 2009, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Bible, Life, Religion, Spirituality, Theology | Tags: , , ,

Letting Go: I don’t particularly like this terminology.  Schmemann talks about the possibility for a poverty of meaning and experience of God in Lent when we talk in terms of ‘taking up’ and ‘letting go’, because we can become so focused on the practices themselves that sight is lost of the reason for those practices.    Hopefully I’m avoiding that process, as I’m truly interested in being obedient to God in my Lenten disciplines.

1. Control–Giving up control.  What does that mean?  For me, the explanation is connected to how taking up spiritual disciplines is more natural to me than giving things up.  In my mind, taking control pushes away the feelings of chaos and anxiety and fear that I sometimes experience, but I think control is often an illusion which we buy into to make us feel more secure.  Disciplines come fairly easy to me, at least in comparison to most other Christians that I talk to.  But control quickly becomes not the fruit of the Spirit named as ‘self-control’ but the desire to control all kinds of circumstances which are beyond my control or my charge.  In short, ‘control’ is a type of worry.  I don’t need to worry, and I certainly don’t need or want to deal with more anxiety in my life.  So screw you, physiological, genetic, hereditary, etc. dispositions to anxiety.  I’m not in control, and that’s a good thing.

The practice of letting go of control is a practice of mindfulness, a constant, gentle, internal release of my claim over other things and even over myself.  Through this I come to see how little control I really hold.  This is not a fearful realization of abandonment to Fate (as much as it seems that it might be), but a realization of freedom, because a loving, redeeming God is cradling my whimpering, helpless form to his breast.  For me, the thought of being in charge, of being responsible for all those things around me is fear-inducing, even panic-inducing.  Also, I waste so much time, along with physical and psychic energy, on trying to control things that I both cannot control and which do not actually matter (trying to be on time to church, for one instance).  Finally, giving up control does battle with my perfectionism, and that battle is almost always a good thing, when done right.

2. Eating meat on M-W-F.  Finally, something that’s tangible.  It’s surprising, considering how little meat I usually eat (and how often my acquaintances assume I’m a vegetarian), how often this has already gotten in my way.  I’m just now thinking about meals on this coming Friday for Anglican Missional Pastor and whether there will be vegetarian options.  For all those vegetarians out there who have shown up at church potlucks and other social get-togethers only to have to skip every dish but the macaroni and cheese and the dessert tables, sorry I’m complaining.  But I do actually wonder if it would have been easier to just say “no meat for Lent.”  That way, I wouldn’t have to remember what day of the week it is.  I am certain that I will forget soon.  Also, I never craved meat before, and now I do.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Please converse with me on all this.  And have a happy solemn Lent!.

2 Comments so far
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Thanks and God Bless

Comment by dcmattozzi

Msgr. Grey suggested that Lent should be an uncomfortable time to remind us of what is to come for Christ. So, yes, “no meat” would have been easier but the M-W-F is a little more uncomfortable and makes you stop and think what day it is and WHY you need to know.

Comment by Terry

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