Connecting faith to life: Lent is perfect time to examine our heartsA couple of years ago, I took a community education class called, “Instant Guitar for Hopelessly Busy People.” The class was for two hours on a Saturday morning and at the end of the class, the instructor told us that if we practiced each day, we would be able to play an actual song in a matter of months.
By: Kari van Wakeren, Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Alexandria Echo Press
A couple of years ago, I took a community education class called, “Instant Guitar for Hopelessly Busy People.”
The class was for two hours on a Saturday morning and at the end of the class, the instructor told us that if we practiced each day, we would be able to play an actual song in a matter of months.
He also told us that practicing regularly would help build up calluses on our fingers so that playing wouldn’t hurt so bad.
When it comes to playing the guitar, calluses are a good thing. But those calluses do not form overnight. On the contrary, it takes many days of practicing regularly, of doing the same thing over and over, until you are able to do it without thinking about it (or feeling it either).
When it comes to obstacles in our spiritual lives, the same is true. Over time, calluses can build up from doing (or not doing) something over and over. Except that when it comes to living faithfully as God’s people, calluses are neither productive nor desired.
This is why, all throughout Scripture, God’s people are warned against letting their hearts become hardened to God and God’s activity in their lives.
The Holy Spirit is constantly working in, through, and around us; but if our hearts are callused, we become less receptive to discerning what God wants to show us, teach us, or say.
Sometimes the actions leading to our callused hearts are intentional. Other times they are not; they sort of creep up on us instead. But either way, calluses on our hearts get in the way of fully living as God intended us to live and from fully being the people God created us to be.
The good news is that help is never far away. As David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me…Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-12)
Lent is a perfect time for us to examine our hearts, to repent of anything that is not of God, and to turn our hearts, once again, over to God. The promise is that as we do, there is a fullness of life and love waiting for us that is never far away.
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Kari van Wakeren is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and blogs at hiccupsandsomersaults.blogspot.com.
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