As we continue in our journey to the cross in Lent and growth in the likeness of Jesus, our collect for this Sunday serves to remind us of our created purpose and that which keeps us from it. Quoting from Saint Augustine, our purpose is to find peace and rest, which only comes when our hearts rest in perfect relationship with God. Yet, discovering that peace and rest only comes when our affections, or desires are purified and reordered. How do we do that?
One simple exercise to highlight that which needs reordering, if we need help, is to reflect upon that which has control of us. For example, if we cannot put down a phone or device, it perhaps has control over us instead of being a tool to assist us. Or, if we are restless until we have that first drink, or rationalize the need of it to unwind, it may perhaps have control over us instead of being something to be enjoyed.
Once we identify that which has control over our mind, our actions, and even the justification of such actions, we can bring it before the Lord to be dealt with. For He has compassion upon us and desires that we discover life as He intended. These may not be easy fixes, but steps can be taken to cooperate with God’s grace in overcoming them. It begins by turning in prayer to the Lord and asking for His forgiveness and help. Then, it often comes through seeking accountability or putting steps in place to assist toward that end.
A dear colleague of mine, gave up his smartphone for Lent. He put his default status as ‘do not disturb’ which does not allow calls and texts to come through. He shared this with his family and parish and gave them means to reach him if truly needful. Last week, he spoke of how freeing it was to check his phone when he wanted and then disregard it the rest of the time. He commented that this practice put him in control of the device instead of letting the device control him.
The call of the season of Lent is to relinquish control or find steps to freedom of those things that control us, so that we may find rest in the freedom found in relationship with Jesus. Many things and habits often prevent us from finding it, and leave a lie upon our mind that such freedom is found in those things instead of seeing that they are the very prisons that keep our hearts restless. May God convict, convince and conform our hearts to His own so we may find rest in Him during these forty days whereby we journey to the cross and find our freedom and joy there.