April 20, 2011

Give'n It Up So I Can Fill 'Er Up

Growing up, we were the consumate church hoppers.  My dad had grown up one religion and my mother another, so we bounced between those two and everything else available.  We shopped based on the people and how we felt when we attended. Kinda like Goldilocks and her porridge...some were too stuffy, others too stiff.  At about 14 I called it quits for the next 15 years or so.  I never felt like I "fit" and wasn't real sure what I believed anyway.  It felt fake to sit there and say the words if I wasn't sure I believed in them.

Fast forward through the college years and searching...I realized somewhere along the way my faith was my faith, and I really didn't need a name for it.  I suppose when you quit looking, you find what you're looking for.  We found a little country church where the people come in suits and blue jeans.  They put their money, however meager or much, where their mouths are and help out those less fortunate at every turn.  Everybody knows you, they speak no matter what, they take care of everyone when a marriage happens or a baby is born, and (most importantly) it feels like I belong when I plop on my pew. 

On Ash Wednesday, we went to church and our very wise pastor explained the purpose of giving up something for Lent.  For the past couple of years that I had tried (I swear, I tried, really...) to give up something for Lent, it had been the standard sweets or carbonated drinks.  I had only replaced sweets with more potato chips.  I somehow don't think that's the point.

What I chose to ditch this year was the anchor on my life ~ the ambiguous monster that always holds me back...I gave up fear.  That doesn't mean I'm skydiving or tempting a nest of bees; It just means I'm taking chances when I usually would've let fear hold me back.  A few opportunities have popped up recently.  Before I would've convinced myself I was too stupid or not connected enough to get the chance, but now I've put myself out there.  And, truthfully, they may not happen, but it's okay.  Point is, I tried.

Trust me when I say you don't have to worry about me knocking on your door to try to convert you.  I figure you believe what you believe, and I should respect that just the same as you respect mine.  Just posting this is about letting go of that fear of offending others.  Some may read this and never come back.  And that's okay. 

I understand now what she meant.  The point isn't about giving up...It's about replacing a negative with a positive.  It's about filling up that space with something that is good.  Something that makes you a better, well, you.  I'm going out on a limb here, but I think that's a general human thing we can all aspire to regardless of the time of year or what label we place upon ourselves.


  1. I sit here reading and crying. Don't know where the tears are coming from. Maybe from my own fears that I'm disappointing God and not making a difference. Thanks for showing me again that when you love people as they are and share where your source of love comes from - that makes a difference - He makes a difference. Thank you for filling up my today with something good.
    Pastor Tammy

  2. Darlin',
    Once again, perfectly put. I identify with you on many levels and I couldn't be happier for you and the peace you've arrived at. Based solely on my own experiences, I do well believe you've found what so many others will spend lifetimes chasing and that has nothing to do with religion. I applaud you!