Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cleaning the Crap from your Conscience – What I am adding for Lent

Two weeks ago, I awoke early in the morning, anxious over several problems which I had little to no control over. I tossed and turned, untucking the covers as I went, hoping to find a position comfortable enough to sleep in. I may have turned a light on to clean the cobwebs in my mind, or open my laptop to distract me from my concerns. However, after I turned the light off and closed my laptop, I realized that the answer to my problem was right under my nose.

Windows users like me know that tossing documents, music or entire programs in the recycle bin and emptying it is a good way to clean their computers of un-needed junk. But about a year ago, Dad introduced me to a great little program called CCleaner, otherwise known as Crap Cleaner. The cycle may last a little while, but after the program does its work, the crap on your computer should be gone. But how do you do that in your life?

While I lay there, still wide awake, I decided to forget about sleeping and instead start thinking about God. But because I couldn’t forget about my frustrations, I began to wonder, “God, what can you do with them?” I slowly started to label my anxieties that were keeping me awake and giving them to God. One after another:

1) Work



2) Roommate



3) Relationships I hoped to begin



4) Relationships I hoped to change



I labelled people, places, conversations and confessions by name until I felt the list was long enough for one night. Then, the words to an old Sunday school song “Cast your burdens unto Jesus for He cares for you,” which is also found in 1 Peter 5:7, floated into my mind. Instead of staying awake, dwelling on those issues, which were now neatly listed, I decided to do just that. Slowly, I opened my clenched fists and said “God, you may give these concerns back to me in the morning, but would you please take them right now so I can sleep.” I then closed my eyes and the rest is history.

The impact of that prayer was immediate and lasting. Not only was my night’s sleep better than any sleeping pill, with no dreams and no concerns, the next day was even better because the concerns I had listed did not come back. As the day, the week, and the month progressed, other concerns took their place and it soon became time to do it all over again.

At around this time of year, Christians wonder what they should ‘give’ up for lent? Instead of doing this, I want to ‘pick’ up something that might make my walk with God even better. By picking up a practice like this, I hope to learn that I am letting go of my worries and regularly emptying the recycle bin of my mind.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


On the morning of my seventh birthday, I crept up stairs and was delighted when I saw a bright yellow bike in the middle of the living room floor. For days afterwards, dad and I would take the bike over to the schoolyard next door, and he would run along beside me as I learned to ride my four wheeled bike. There was no chance I would fall, but I wanted him to share in my excitement.

Not all of my future rides were at the school, nor was dad always running along beside me. However, when it came time for him to take my training wheels off, there he was, back at the school, holding on to me and my bike as I tottered back and forth, working on gaining my balance. As I gained speed and confidence, dad would let go of my handle bars and all would be well until I had to slow down at the end of the gravel field, totter again and either crash or get caught by my dad’s waiting arms.

Years later at camp, I decided to learn archery and, like the other campers with me, try to hit the bulls-eye and be rewarded with a can of Coke. As I was learning, my councillor stood behind me, holding the bow and string along with me so that I would know the right technique. As we pulled the string back, I was concerned that I would elbow him in the face, but when we both let go of the arrow, I was amazed how fast that arrow flew. Though it never hit the bulls-eye, at least it hit the large Styrofoam target!

Nobody needed to remind me how to ride a bike because I loved it so much. However, after a year without shooting arrows, I went back to camp and needed to learn the basics of archery all over again.

As Jesus said in Mark 10 “No one is good—except God alone.” If we repeat this fact to ourselves enough, and see examples of his goodness, like bike riding, soon enough we will understand this to be true and not need anyone to remind us. However, if we look for something else to believe in rather than God, we will also find something else that is not Good. And if we only love God in the summer time, forgetting about Him when school starts up again, like my experience with archery, we will never become good at this art.

Is loving God an art you want to perfect? Or are you satisfied with bumping into Him annually at summer camp, at a Christmas and Easter service, or at weddings and funerals? Because if God is not what makes you Good, you are left with nothing.