It was the fortieth day or the last day of Lent several years ago and I happened to be standing at the checkout counter in our local grocery store and couldn't help but notice the lane right next to me and the commotion going on.
Seeing how it's usually my lane where all the commotion is.
At least when I take all five of them into the store with me anyway.
But on this particular day, the commotion was one lane over from me.
The checkout lady laughed with the gentleman and made a comment about how he must just really love potato chips.
She was busy laughing and ringing up at least twenty bags of every type of chips known to man.
And gracious I love chips.
But what really struck me in that moment were the following words.
"I gave up potato chips for Lent."
And as someone who has great respect for the Lenten season and with full understanding that it is customary to give up something, a personal sacrifice of sorts, during this beautiful season....
I couldn't help but think about the main thing.
The centerpiece of Lent.
The purpose and the reason and the whole point of these forty days.
Every, single thing during the forty days of Lent is to serve a greater purpose.
To strip us of ourselves and our own selfish desires and to press down the flesh.
For the "less of me and more of you" Lord purpose.
So that we can possibly even grow closer. Know Him more deeply. More intimately. More wondrously.
So that He can speak in some way and we will actually know His prompting, His leading, His guidance.
And for this.
So that we can love more deeply and serve others in a more selfless way.
So I'm just wondering, if potato chips and the like serve as a hindrance in our walk and we give them up for forty days....
Why on earth would we ever take up the eating of potato chips again?
If we are really sacrificing and laying aside real hindrances.
Isn't everything we do during those 40 days really about what happens on the 41st day?
And then every day after that?
Are Diet Coke, chocolate, potato chips, shopping and Facebook the real hindrances?
And if they are....
If those really are the things that keep us from growing closer to Him which keep us from loving others well and serving others with the right heart and the right spirit....
Why on earth are we standing in line to consume it all again on the forty first day?
And if those things are not the real hindrances ...
Which things are?
Isn't that what we need to sacrifice and give up and lay aside....permanently?
Do we really want to love others well and do life with a heart of servitude and be quick to listen and slow to speak and meet the needs of those around us? Do we really want to know the prompting and leading and guidance of His sweet spirit in our lives?
These are just a few of the things I've asked myself this week.
Am I quick to just dismiss others when they hurt me or do I love others well- even in times of suffering in friendship and relationships? Am I careful with the hearts of my family members and loved ones? Am I any kind of an example of the love of Christ to my three daughters? Do I demonstrate His great love to my three sons? Do I love my husband well at all times, no matter what? Or am I quick to want to be understood instead of seeking to understand. Am I a voice of reason and love and compassion toward others or am I demanding and insisting on my own way? Do I handle conflict with love and kindness or am I looking to be right and to be heard? Am I serving others and encouraging hearts or am I showing up with my own agenda? Do I speak life over others or am I quick to complain and point out their shortcomings?
I know for certain that there is more than forty days worth of flesh that needs to be stripped from my own heart and I want to be willing and obedient to lay aside anything and everything that serves as a hindrance during this beautiful season.
May He be moved into the rightful position of centerpiece during the next forty days for each and every, single one of us sweet friends.