If I am not careful regret can become a constant companion. Regret for things I have done wrong, or things I have said wrong, or in the wrong way. Regret for things I did not do, or did not say, though I knew I should have. This Lent had me in an unexpected tailspin. There seems to be many quicksand traps of regret set for me. The initial sinking is slow, but then I start thrashing about and it causes the sinking to happen at a much faster rate.
Daily I am failing. (To clarify, I do fail daily throughout the year, but this has been failing each day even after I was warned about avoiding whatever it is in the morning Lenten reading.) I choose to remember that God’s mercies are new every morning, but I was so frustrated and beating myself up and then I realized what the real heart matter was.
I was tired of needing saving.
I just want to get this life, and do it “right“. I was tired of failing, and tired of myself. Going through the book 40 Days of Decrease, Chole is trying to walk the reader through their hearts to allow Christ to minister and heal spaces that we may not realize are there and in need of healing so we have more space for Christ to fill us. I feel like somehow the fasts have intensified things that are not an issue usually, or haven’t been, things I haven’t done in awhile, then it starts, the sinking in the pit of regret and despair, shocked that I am in the space of failing at certain things again.
I get even more frustrated and annoyed because I know I need a Savior, but am tired of proving it daily, and just how much saving I need. Now that I am out and about with others it is failing in front of more people, and my sins and failings affect more people. My control and self-control have shrunk. I feel so needy.
When this all came to a head, I repented, and asked forgiveness again, and was grateful for God’s mercies, which truly are new every morning. There will never be a time where I will use up God’s patience and love for me, which is deeply humbling and mind boggling. As my brain went down this path, DC Talk’s (90s Christian Band) song In the Light started running through my head. As I fell asleep and then the next morning when I woke up:
What’s going on inside of me?/ I despise my own behavior/ This only serves to confirm my suspicions/That I’m still a man in need of a Savior/ I want to be in the Light/As You are in the Light/I want to shine like the stars in the heavens/ Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation/ Cause all I want is to be in the Light/ All I want is to be in the Light
As that went around my mind, I started thinking about light and how I had lost focus. The point of the fasts and paying attention is to remind me of my need for a Savior, but also that the needed mercy and grace has come. I just need to ask and walk in it. There is enough light for each step. I am in some environments where darkness feels so heavy and loud. I was sinking in the quicksand because I was looking at it, and looking at my sin, instead of focusing on my Savior who overcame all of this.
His victory is mine.
Daily I pray for God to create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me (Ps 51:10). Show me if there be any wicked way in me (Ps 139:24). I feel like the mirror was held up to remind me of my need, but I mistakenly took a magnifying glass and starting examining the sin and failure. I was defining myself with it, instead of reveling in the light and grace offered to me.
We will always fall short of the glory of God, there is more to Psalm 139:24 (which I somehow had lost track of) it asks for God to lead us in the way everlasting. God Himself promises to lead us home. There is plenty of light in His presence. In Revelation it says in heaven there is no sun because God is the light. The purpose of Lent is not one of shame and quicksand pits of regret but a time of forgiveness, gratitude, life, and freedom.
So there is still plenty of time this Lent for me to practice walking in the light. It is important for me to ask God to show me if there be any wicked way in me but not to stop there, but to also ask for Him to lead me in the way everlasting. I am reminded the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus has come to give us abundant life even during Lent or maybe even more so during Lent.