cross with flowers at church entrance

40 Days of Lent and My Own Personal Season of Disappointment

It has been a rough couple of weeks for me. There have been numerous disappointments over the past month. Things that I took for granted would happen, and then they didn’t.

Things that were a pretty big hit to my confidence and self-esteem. Things that were a hit to my faith.

I’m not talking about your casual, run-of-the-mill disappointment. I’m talking about the devastating feeling of being punched in the gut when you learned the news. I’m talking about the kind of disappointment that requires a mental health day (or two) off of work. The kind of disappointment that makes you think, “what’s the point!?”

Why would God let this happen? Why did he keep ignoring my prayers? Did he just forget about me, or did he not care about me anymore?

It’s been interesting because this season of disappointment and doubt has corresponded amazingly well with the season of Lent, which began on March 2 this year: Ash Wednesday.

I went to my first Ash Wednesday service this year. In the faith tradition I grew up in, we just didn’t observe Lent. I had never even heard of it until I went to college, when suddenly people were talking about giving up caffeine or chocolate for the 40 days before Easter.

I think some people feel very uncomfortable stepping outside of their own faith traditions, but I have found it beneficial to keep an open mind, and see if there is a potential spiritual benefit in partaking in other faith traditions. Lent is not even that far of a stretch for me, it’s still a Christian tradition, just not the brand of Christianity I was used to.

At our Ash Wednesday service, we sang hymns together and had a time of private and public confession of sin. It was a time to focus on our mortality, and our thankfulness that Jesus died for our sins. It was a time to be grateful for the grace of God.

I thought about giving up something for Lent, but nothing seemed right. I started out the season of Lent with a lot of hope, but found myself unfortunately collecting disappointment after disappointment. Our church had created a podcast especially for Lent, where members of our church shared prayers and Scripture and recited the Lord’s Prayer together. Many people talked about how much they loved the podcast, and how uplifting and meaningful it was for them to listen to it each morning.

But I found myself less and less able to listen to it as the weeks went by. I felt like my faith was failing as I watched and waited (and waited some more) for my prayers to be answered. And then they weren’t.

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I’m Still Here

It’s a Tuesday, August 17th.

I don’t have anything novel or revolutionary to say. I’ve been in somewhat of a low place the last few weeks. But I just wanted to post something to say that I’m still here (it’s been over 2 weeks since I’ve been active on here.)

I just reorganized and sorted through my sock and underwear drawer. It is therapeutic for me to organize and get rid of things. Clutter is one of my kryptonites (not sure if that’s the proper plural of kryptonite?)

I know I’m stressed because I’ve been wanting to clean and organize, and reorganize, and sort, and declutter… and it never seems to be enough.

I’m anxious about my son starting Kindergarten (in 2 days!) I’m anxious about the Delta variant, and about the fact that schools around here seem to be doing nothing as a precaution.

I’m frustrated about things that never seem to change despite me working really hard to change them. The other day I hit a point where I questioned why I’m even putting in the effort. It it’s not going to make a difference, I could at least save my energy for other things.

I’ll give you an example. Sometimes (well, if I’m honest, many times) I hate how I look. I put in a lot of effort to style my hair, do my makeup, choose what clothes I wear… and then I see myself in a picture and I think that it was all for nothing. I might as well just roll out of bed, throw on any old clothes and walk out the door – either way, I won’t like how I look. (I know this is a defeatist attitude, but here we are.)

A second example: sometimes I wonder why I pray about things if they don’t seem to be changing. Why does it feel like God isn’t listening? When is it appropriate to give up and move on? I woke up early this morning to pray when that thought popped into my head. And then I thought about Joseph, and about how he spent years in terrible situations like slavery and prison, but that in the end, it had a purpose. If he could have seen the future, he could have seen that all of it was leading up to something bigger than him, all he had to do was endure it. (Feel free to read more about Joseph in the latter half of Genesis, I know I did not do the story justice here.)

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