Competing With Self

27 Feb

“The biggest competition is myself.  I am not looking to follow others or pull them down.  I’m planning to test my own boundaries.”  ~ Rain

We are soon to enter a spiritual competition as we begin the holy season of Lent on Wednesday. Lent always challenges us to examine our lives, to determine what needs to be removed, and to make plans to grow more holy day by day.  At the end of Lent, we should be holier than we were when we first began it.  This Lent should leave us holier than we were at the end of last Lent.

We are not competing with anyone else.  Not a spouse, sibling, friend, or co-worker.  The only person with whom we compete is ourselves.  Can our Easter version of self be nicer, better, and more holy than our pre-Lent version of self?

We can be better if we use the season of Lent to its fullest advantage.  During the season, we are asked to give favorite things up for the sake of Jesus.  This is the time so many people give up candy or soft drinks or take out food.

There is a place for giving up.  However, that should not be our sole sacrifice.  We are also asked to do positive acts of kindness and mercy as well throughout the season.  Can we be kind to someone we typically ignore?  Can we recognize, and fulfill, the need of others around us?  Are we willing to give of our time to someone we might rather choose to ignore?

Giving things up is good.  Doing positive good for others is a step up in Lent.  If we want to utilize Lent to its fullest, there is another thing that we could and should do:  pray more.  Too many of us do not pray enough.  We might, just might, say a quick morning prayer or prayer at meals.  That might be the extent of it, though.

Our prayers this season should employ some of the rote prayers that we know and love.  Our prayers should also include scriptural reading as well as spiritual reading.  All of these will give us new perspective on our God and on our faith and help us to draw closer to the Lord.

The season of Lent can be a beautiful season.  It can also be a tedious and worrisome season to those who strive to do too much.  Don’t do that.  You are in competition with no one but yourself.  Set realistic and achievable goals.  When you accomplish a goal, move on to the next.  That way you will not overburden yourself.  Doing so leads to people discontinuing their Lenten practices.

As you draw closer to the Lord day by day, realize how good God feels since it is His desire to be close to you.

FAITH ACTION:  Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself for this year’s Lenten season.