Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, February 23

Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
—Psalm 139:1

Every Lent, I set some limits for myself, and plan spiritual disciplines. And every year, mid-way through Lent, I realize that I am not doing as well as I had hoped. This used to make me feel like a dismal failure, weak and undisciplined. Now I don't look at it quite that way, because of an experience I had.

It was just before Christmas. I was driving (too fast) to a church meeting. I was late (as usual). I was behind on everything: shopping, wrapping, cooking, and decorating. All the way into town, I was miserable.

"You are disorganized," I told myself. "You procrastinate, you take on too much, and you spend too much. You are a mess."   Suddenly, at a stoplight, I heard a voice in my head, drowning out the other one. "Stop it!," it said. "You are this way every Christmas. You probably always will be. Lighten up! You are not THAT bad. You are just YOU!"

I sat there, realizing I had been given an incredible blessing. The relief was so great I laughed out loud.

During Lent, it's good to remember we are human. We are all flawed, and we need to know our dark sides, our sins. But when we know we are not meant to be perfect, an interesting thing happens. We begin to make changes. We face the parts of us we don't like, and begin to do something about them.

Barbara Brown Taylor says that the greatest temptation is the temptation not to be human. Comparing Adam and Jesus, she writes,

Whereas Adam stepped over the line and found humanity a curse, Jesus stayed behind the line and made humanity a blessing...We are kin to both of them. And when the Adam in us is powerfully tempted to play God, the Jesus in us is more powerfully able to remain human, offering to keep us company on our own side of the line and showing us that the way to discover our Godlikeness is not to curse our humanity but to bless it.

Thanks be to God, who created and formed us, and calls us His own. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.