As we thought about our Basis of Security question, the Lenten stories told during the Celebration Service seemed an appropriate response to the question "What can I do to rely on God more?" These stories came as we shared what we were letting go of, and what God was putting in to us.
Becky Cox: "I have given up all reading except the Bible for my Lent experience. I found my days so busy, I decided to get up early, which is unusual for me, to spend more time alone with God, and it has been really good for me. I am reading, praying, journaling and being honest with God about my fears and giving up control. I have found myself contemplating, "What does God want for my life?" more than ever before."
Steve Jones: "I gave up alcohol, and found I don’t miss it at all. Two things have changed; one physical and one spiritual: I am sleeping so much better, so much more soundly. Working out at the gym and working on weight loss, I think about those empty alcohol calories I’m not consuming. More importantly, the biggest change is that I was excited to see what God would put in its place, as Caleb had suggested when he heard we were "doing" Lent. I have spent more time in prayer and Bible study, and am aware of more of His Presence with me, at work, play and home. I have really noticed the Holy Spirit being with me twenty-four hours a day. It is a great experience."
Michelle Stumbo: "I have given up sleeping in, desserts and candy. It’s been a challenge, but different from past experiences, I think because of the deep changes that have come from fourteen months of accountability in the counseling we have been receiving. I have made it a habit to start my day with the Lord, and my children are watching and mimicking this.
When I think about desserts and candy, often, and how long Lent lasts, I thought about what was driving those thoughts, and how God would fill me up instead."
Matt Milligan: "I gave up snacking after dinner. Shelley has told me she can hear my tummy growling after we’re in bed for the night. I have experienced going to the fridge, taking out a pop, looking at it, and putting it back, many times. This process has begun to remind me to pray for my sister overseas, and her mission, and the people she is ministering to. Some of them go hungry often, many times with only two meals a day."
June Hoover: "I decided to get rid of some of my excess . . . my closets, drawers, shelves. I gathered a big bag of clothes from my closet. That was easy. Some of them still had the tags on them. The hard part came as I went into stores: "I wanna buy something." Having to say "No" to myself was hard. I was reminded about Matthew where Jesus said not to store up treasures here on earth, and where he said not to worry, but think about the lily, and how beautiful it is, and it doesn’t worry about the future. Also, the part that says God wants to give us good gifts.
It’s getting easier to say, "It’s NOT a buying day." The desire is not as strong. The lesson really came home for me when I thought about watching my daughter graduating from college in a month, seeing her less, and having to "give up stuff" about our relationship, and I’m learning how to give up my expectations and desires, and wait to see what God has to give me instead."
Val Squires: 'I gave up ‘noise in the car’. Silence in the car means I’m praying, singing to God, and listening to the Holy Spirit instead of the radio or CD’s. Practicing Mindful Silence has been phenomenal; it impacts everything, especially the peace I feel in the silence. I find myself much more aware of His Presence throughout my day, not just in morning or evening "devotional" time. The Holy Spirit gives me clear instruction, wisdom and revelation. With gratitude and relief I am able to leave stuff at the Cross. The Mindful Silence has given me a thirst to want God more throughout my day. I am finding small pockets of time where I can silence my mind and body, and God meets me there."