In my previous post I challenged others to let go of the familiarity they held with cherished possessions. To put them on hold for a season. Though this wisdom certainly applies to places and things it runs contrary to maintaining relationships with the people we cherish.
Take my wife for example. If I disassociate myself from her, this would not have a desirable outcome. The same would hold true of my relationship with my children, devoted friends, and God.
When I let go of my familiarity with possessions, it frees me to focus on relationships. It serves to elevate relationships over possessions. That brings me back to the season of Lent, and why so many people choose to do without favorite objects, and focus on their relationship with God and the suffering Jesus endured for all our sakes.
Don’t let familiarity with a relationship you hold dear breed contempt. Instead disassociate yourself from anything that stands in the way.
There is a proverb which says, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Siri defines this “extensive knowledge of or close association with someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it.”
The month of March is a lot like that in my opinion. By March, I’ve had enough of the cold and snow, and have no affection for winter. Snowflakes are no longer pretty or romantic. My familiarity with March is like a family member who has overstayed their welcome. It’s past time for winter to make its exit.
March doesn’t look anything like the hope-filled lesson I was taught as a child, you know, “in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Whoever made up the calendar did a cruel thing when they assigned March 31 days. It certainly feels like the longest month of the year.
March is a month of waiting. What are we supposed to do while we wait? For one thing, there’s Lent, a forty-day season of renewal and remembrance on the Christian calendar, commemorating Jesus’ wilderness experience.
I’ve also found it helpful to use March as a time to look back at what I accomplished last year, and ahead to what I hope to accomplish this year. Take gardening for example. Year’s ago, when I had more land, I used to pour over the seed catalog before spring arrived, trying to figure out what vegetables to plant based on last year’s gardening experience.
More recently, my wife and I have been renovating a rundown cottage about an hour drive from where we live. We close it up each year in early November and reopen it mid April. These pictures reflect our effort in 2022. It’s an amazing experience to walk back into the cottage after a winter hiatus. I think this has something to do with shedding our familiarity with it.
If you never got around to making a New Year’s resolution, there’s plenty of time to come up with something in March. You can ask yourself, is there anything in my life I could shed my familiarity with? You might be surprised how doing so will make you appreciate it more.
When I am tempted to yield to doubt during troubled times, I have to remind myself that God is enough. The moment I believe God is not enough, I need to ask myself, what is my “plan B.” God’s got me covered!
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
After the Israelites crossed the Jordan river, Joshua commanded the people to carry 12 large stones up out of the river and pile them up on the shore as a memorial. Then, when someone asks, “What do these 12 stones mean?” tell themhow the Lord cut off the flow of the Jordan and let the Israelites cross over into the promised land.
This event occurred on the 10th day of the first month of the Jewish calendar (Joshua 4:19) marking the end of the Exodus (the date 40 years earlier the people of Israel left Egypt (Exodus 12:3)). The message: God will finish the work He starts.
Followers of Jesus celebrate communion, “Do this in remembrance of me,” to remind us what God has done for us through his Son. The cross of Christ demonstrates God can accomplish the impossible in our lives if we will let Him.
And like the people of Israel we must be ready to tell those who ask us, “what is the reason for the hope that lies within you?” 1 Peter 3:15.
Looking back over my life, I recall numerous situations a proverbial line in the sand has been drawn. For most of my life I have been exploring the boundaries created by them.
As a child, my sister and I shared the back seat in the family station wagon. One of us invariably drew an imaginary line separating her space from mine. Quarrels began when the line was crossed, even if breeched by a single finger.
As I grew older is spent a good deal of my time trying to test the line of acceptable behavior my parents had laid down. I learned there were negative consequences for crossing their line.
When I entered adulthood, and set off on my own, I realized there was a line separating the life I had already realized from things I had yet to experience (marriage, career, raising children, etc.). With trepidation I launched myself across this line and into the great unknown.
Ash Wednesday occurs this coming week. It marks the start of a 40-day period referred to as Lent leading up to Easter Sunday. Those who observe Lent usually do so by abstaining from a materialistic vice (i.e. chocolate, red meat, television, etc.) or affirming a spiritual virtue (devotions, prayer, etc.).
Since my couch to 5k experience to date has been marked by physical, mental and spiritual wellness, I have decided to choose Ash Wednesday as a starting line I intend to cross!