Lent promises

This year I have been a bit behind with thinking what to do in Lent, in terms of spiritual discipline. In years gone by I’ve tried many of the usual things – giving up chocolate or coffee, for instance – and very hard they were too. One year I announced to my congregation that I was giving up guilt, but in a way that turned out to be a bit of a cop-out. I am far too guilty a Presbyterian for that to have much chance of succeeding.

This year I am trying something new. As I’ve got older it’s true to say that anxiety has become an ever-increasing problem. No amount of soothing inner dialogue makes this easy to deal with. So here’s the plan: whenever I am anxious I am going to visualise Psalm 139 where God says that he knows and loves us from when we were in our mother’s womb. Then, as that starts to calm me down, I am going to try and hear, with the inner ear, the voice of Jesus saying Don’t be afraid. I am with you.

I’ll try to keep you posted.

By the way, yesterday’s BMT was tea out in a tea shop and included a very large meringue. The tea was Earl Grey with bergamot and blue cornflowers.

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6 Responses to Lent promises

  1. I really like this Freda. It is not unusual I think for anxiety to become a major force in our lives as we age. Your proposed treatment sounds a good model to follow. Do you mind if I copy?
    Your tea sounds delicious too.

  2. Suem says:

    This sounds a great Lent idea. Special tea and sweet treats sounds good too!

  3. Tabor says:

    Sounds like a lovely task…I wish you the best.

  4. LC says:

    Your post reminded me of an assistant i had years ago whose priest urged his parishioners to give up something other than food or some tangible something. He wanted them to give up something that would affect them spiritually. She decided to give up gossiping. Imagine her comment to me in a real slow Southern drawl: “I didn’t realize I would miss (miss of course is two syllables: mee-iss) it so much!”

    My battle with anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed took a turn for the better when I started down the road you are going. The only problem was when that physical feeling of panic and anxiety started in my stomach and began to spread throughout, I couldn’t pray, I couldn’t visualize. It was too late. What I finally did that worked for me was write down the prayer or Scripture on an index card and keep it in a pocket. I did have presence of mind enough to pull it out and read it. Since i was reading through the Bible in a year, I sometimes had more than one verse that struck me and I would write it down on whatever was handy. A week later a challenge would arise and I would dig out a napkin or torn piece of paper, stick it in my pocket and head out. The verse would fit the situation just right! Of course, during this period, I had just a few pairs of slacks with pockets and I wore them often unless it was cool enough to wear a blazer with pockets. That broadened my wardrobe options. It got to where sometimes just reaching in and grasping the card or whatever would remind me to trust God and remember that if he loved me enough to die for me, he loves me enough to be concerned about every aspect of my life.

    Freda, sorry this is so long, but just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you in this journey!

  5. Anne Gibert says:

    Anxiety for me has been a life long problem. I think as I age I have learned to control it better than when I was young, but 3 o’clock in the morning is a bad time to start thinking. I tell myself — this will be less scary in the morning. I think it’s important to try to distinguish between real threats and imagined ones. It requires different skills to deal with truly dangerous life events, which will certainly come from time to time, than to cope with the trivial stuff I tend to make up and worry about.

    I love the elegant tea. I love the concept of the BMT.

  6. freda says:

    Delighted to have someone sharing in the Lent exercise Ray. So far, it has been all good. After a few times of needing to use the memory verses I have found that anxiety has been fading into the background. However, it has been a very special weekend.

    LC – thanks for sharing part of your experience with us. I think I might try to copy a prayer card and keep it on my desktop as well. I think the idea of giving up gossip is an excellent one.

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