Ash Wednesday is more than giving up something or adding a practice for the season of Lent. It is about taking in a good dose of perspective about life. Here are couple things to consider:
1) You job is not what makes you YOU.
If your pursuit of safety and success through your job is what provides you with your sense of worth then friend you will always feel weary, overworked, and up against. Do your job, but don’t let your job do you. In other words, when you have put in a hard days work and there is still more left to do stop yourself. Make rest happen. Make space in your life. We were not meant to work continuously from the time we get up in the morning till the hour that we fall asleep due to exhaustion.
2) The people around you do NOT complete you.
I don’t care how precious he or she is to you. They are not forgiving enough, loving enough, happy enough, sexy enough…….they just can’t be that for you. I hope you find someone who can make your heart sing, but please do not make them your source of hope in life. People can’t be that for you all the time. We mess up. We get it wrong. We get into fights. It’s normal and okay to not feel a strong romantic connection every waking hour of the day so please don’t think things are over just because you disagree.
3) “Being Real” is not about trying to stand out the most
It has become so absurd at the red carpet and in music lately. Just because you wear an outfit that is a little off, or you act like you have a few screws loose, does not make you more authentic and real to the rest of the world. It may be considered art, but it is not authentic. Most of the time these public displays of lunacy are public laments, because things hurt that much in their souls. If you want to authentic or real then speak your mind with a tongue that is guarded and ears that willing to receive feedback so that dialogue can take place. Most things in our culture that are labeled “real” are the most cartoonish and over the top stereotypes of living. Real people do not consume and discard one another.
When Jesus was challenged by the relgious guardians of the “truth” about what God wanted most from humanity he replied “Love God with all that you are, no holding back and love your neighbors with same kind of intensity that you care for your own well being”.
What really matters in life is who is the focus of your life. We can be truly authentic when we stop trying to outdo each other with our jockeying for being right and first. Loving your neighbor changes everything.