So, how's Lent going for you?
My Lenten discipline this year is challenging me, and stretching me. One of the big ways that it is challenging me is by leading me to simplicity. I'm sure that I'm not the only one experiencing this this Lent. In the world we live in, simple is hard to come by, no?
It's easy to become too busy.
I have a tendency to want to do so much. Typically, I try to cram in as many things as I can into my weekly kid-free time. I try to accomplish as much as I can post-child-bedtime, too. But not lately. And that wasn't even an intended side-effect of my Lenten practice. It just sort of happened.
God is sometimes really obvious.
My Lenten practice this year was very much something that I felt God was calling me to. Actually, God was kind of blatantly obvious about it. In the days leading up to Lent, I kept hearing readings and homilies and the like that just kept nudging me in a certain direction. Naturally, I tried to fight it, but the more obvious God made it, I was finally like, Okay, God. We'll do this your way.
This applies to you, too.
Okay, I'm purposely not getting into specifics here, partially because I don't want to be like, "Look what I'm doing, everyone!" But, also, what I'm talking about her applies to you no matter what your Lenten discipline. Something remarkable happens you try to listen to what God has to say.
Life becomes simpler.
Trying to make decisions on your own can be exhausting!
Think about it - you have so many decisions to make every day. Most of them are small, mundane decisions; some are bigger. If you're anything like me, the decisions you make often don't simplify life. In fact, your plans and decisions may actually complicate your life. I typically try to bite off more than I can chew, and the decisions I make for myself, without taking it to prayer, tend to make my life more stressful. But taking things to prayer?
Prayer makes life so much clearer.
Really, truly, prayerfully discerning leads to such peace. It doesn't always lead to the easiest decision, but it always leads to the one that brings the deepest peace. And with that peace, things become much simpler. You don't have to mentally weigh all the possible contingencies involved in a decision. You can just trust that if it is the direction that God is calling you in, then it will most certainly be a good one. You can do your small part, place it in God's hands, and trust that He will take care of the rest. Simple, no? Things may not turn out the way you had hoped, but they will certainly turn out the way they need to.
Case in point?
Some of our funding specifics were a bit up in the air for a little while. We weren't sure how much money we were going to have to work with next year. Andrew applied to one source of funding (the one that I was really hoping would work out) but it didn't pan out. We started a nine-day novena to St. Joseph (who knows well enough what it is to provide for a family) in the midst of that, but before the end of the novena we got the news and were considerably bummed. BUT, we knew that it was in God's hands. We knew that because we had taken it to prayer we could trust that He would provide. My first reaction was to scramble like crazy to try to figure out how to come up with extra money next year...but Andrew had the right idea. "This is in God's hands," he reminded me.
And so, we continued our novena to St. Joseph, making it a 30 day one, leading up to the Feast of St. Joseph. We didn't know what the resolution would be, but on the Feast of St. Joseph our prayers were answered! Andrew found out that the funding issues had come out better than we had hoped! God had provided, once again. Needless to say, the whole experience notched St. Joe up quite a bit in my book!
But we had to step back. We had to worry less about scrambling around to find an answer.
Because the answer was simple. So simple. We simply had to wait to see where God was leading us. We had to take things to prayer.
And the thing is...when you do that...life becomes much simpler.
"Pray, hope, and don't worry." - St. Padre Pio