Lent starts in just a few days. The first day is Wednesday, March 1st. If you are looking to grow deeper in your faith this Lent, you might want to consider reading the book, Discernment of Spirits by Fr.Timothy Gallagher. It is based on the rules of discernment by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The rule I personally found most helpful and one of the hardest to follow is rule number 5. Rule number 5 advises that you do not make a change during times of spiritual desolation.
The best thing to do in times of desolation is to wait upon the Lord, sit in his presence and allow Him to do a purifying work. That is so hard to do especially during times of desolation when we don't feel his presence! It is very difficult to sit still and wrestle with our own thoughts, weaknesses and sin. It is easier and feels more natural to run to idols or distractions.
We all have our own vices and means we use to distract ourselves. My personal weakness has been cute little furry animals. During times of desolation I have fallen into the temptation of adopting them (this is not a temptation or a sin if you aren't trying to fill a longing in your heart with it). The only problem is they don't always stay little and cute. They have also not always worked out for our family and we have had to find some of them new homes.
We currently have a desolation dog. I got her as a cute little puppy, two years ago, during a dry period in my spiritual life; reasoning that our kids needed the experience of having a pet, specifically a puppy. The only problem is now she is an adult dog who barks at anything that moves 25 yards from our house and she nips at kids. We can not bring her around other people, especially little children.
Hindsight, I should have sat with the Lord in the uncomfortable dryness instead of trying to fill that emptiness in my heart with a furry creature. I should have turned to the Creator instead of one of his creatures.
Failing to wait for God's best is nothing new to God's people. The bible is full of stories of people who didn't always wait for His best. Even Abraham who had tremendous faith in God, decided to take matters in his own hands when he took Sarah's handmaid, Hagar in an attempt to fulfill God's promise for a child. Ishmael was the result.
A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Rerouting, I talked about how God doesn't just have a plan "A" for us. If we mess up plan "A", he will give us plan "B" and so on.
It isn't too late however for us to resolve to wait upon the Lord and receive his best! We can choose His plan "A" for today!
What distractions are you tempted to run to when faced with dryness in your soul? This Lent let us resolve to let go of idols and distractions. Let us sit at the Lord's feet and allow Him to do a purifying work in us so we can grow closer to Him. Let us become more aware of his merciful love for us and that we are his beloved!