You can’t lose, unless you give up

Penitent Girl by Pietro Rotari. (Wikimedia Commons).

Penitent Girl by Pietro Rotari. (Wikimedia Commons).

How is your Lent going? Did you accidentally eat meat today? Did you give in and eat chocolate, drink coffee, or indulge in whatever else you promised to give up? Have you missed your prayer time, slept through daily Mass, or skipped your spiritual reading?

Don’t despair. This could still be your best Lent yet.

Lent is not all about you

If you focus on yourself and your own agenda, you will likely fall. In fact, God might put a few stumbling blocks in your way for your own good. Perhaps His plan for this Lent is different from yours. If you keep failing to do what you promised, take some time to ask God what He wants this Lent to be all about.

But what if you prayerfully considered your sacrifices and good works, were convinced that you chose what God wanted, and still keep messing up?

Be at peace. You haven’t failed.

God is bigger than your sins and failings

As regular readers of my blog know, I am working on trusting God more. (If you’re not following me yet, please use the tools at the top of the right sidebar to sign up. Thanks!) So far, this has been one of my best Lents in years. I feel like I can’t fail. You see, I have a tendency towards anger, frustration, and self-pity. For Lent, I am trusting that everything that happens during the day is part of God’s plan for my life. I am striving to accept everything peacefully. Sometimes I forget, and my habit of anger kicks in. Then I need to repent.

But here’s the interesting part. I started this year trying to trust God radically when I sin. I have practiced being peaceful when I fail. I no longer beat myself up. I’m no longer tempted to despair. I lay my sin at Jesus’s feet, ask for forgiveness and a quick kiss, and move on.

So if I fail to trust God originally, I always have a second chance. I can grow in trust, no matter what.

Unless I give up.

Your shortcomings don’t surprise Him

God knows your weaknesses better than you do. He also knows how sincere you are. As long as you are trying, He doesn’t see you as a failure. He sees you as a potential saint. And in order to become that saint, you have to trust Him. Ultimately, He is in charge of your spiritual life, not you. Your perfect practice of penance this Lent can’t earn you union with God. That’s a gift. And He will give it to you in His own time.

Unless you give up.

Connie Rossini

Share with us: How has God surprised you this Lent? How can we pray for your spiritual growth right now?

This post is part of this month’s Catholic Bloggers Link-up Blitz.

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About Connie Rossini

Connie Rossini gives whole families practical help to grow in holiness. She is the author of Trusting God with St. Therese and the free ebook Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life. She writes a spirituality column for The Prairie Catholic of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, and blogs at Contemplative Homeschool. She is also a columnist for SpiritualDirection.com. Her posts have appeared on Catholic Lane and elsewhere. She administers the Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network and owns the Google+ Community Indie Catholic Authors. Connie and her husband Dan have four young sons.
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4 Responses to You can’t lose, unless you give up

  1. Pingback: What Are You Giving Up For Lent? | My Takes

  2. Natalie Bennett says:

    So true. I am working on trust also, sort of a revelation for me that my faith will grow only with an increase in trust. I never thought of giving up chocoate as too much about myself- but it can be. Thanks for the insight and reflection.

    • Giving up chocolate isn’t necessarily all about yourself, but of course it can lead us to focus too much on weight or health issues. What’s really focusing too much on ourselves, in my view, is first: not praying about what we should do for Lent; and second: getting all bent out of shape when we fail. Working on trust is helping me see that I am not the center of anything–even my own growth in holiness. God is. This is really changing my spiritual life, like it is yours. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Pingback: Can you become a saint by sheer willpower? | Contemplative Homeschool

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