“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior, who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love.” (The Bible)
Love, loss and lent all collided on Wednesday. The very best part of being human, our deep love for one another, was celebrated. Another horrible and murderous act showed one of the worst parts of being human, our collective and individual brokenness and the tragic loss we all feel in our very bones. Ash Wednesday couldn’t have come at a better time, marking the beginning of a period of human reflection, repentance and renewal.
Oh how we need it. I need it. When I hear “hard-to-understand, out-of-my-control” things on the news or from a friend or family member, or experience these things in my own life, I tend to move quickly toward fear and anxiety. All the “what-if” thoughts come careening into my head and heart. I go through all the natural “lizard brain” (as I call the amygdala) reactions: flight, fight, faint or freeze. Sometimes, I run the other way and pretend it doesn’t exist. Other times, I get angry and try to come up with a plan to fix it. I seriously just take a nap or watch mind-numbing television many times. However, to be honest, my reaction oftentimes is to become completely paralyzed, unable to do anything. One thing I certainly don’t do often enough is to take the time for the spiritual: reflection, repentance and renewal, what I actually need the most.
That’s why I am so thankful for the season of Lent, this specific time marked on the calendar that shouts to me to do things a little differently than I do every other day of the week, month, year. Take a break from the status quo. Carve out time to shake things up in my every-day life. Exchange the natural for the spiritual, the outside for the inside.
About a year ago, a difficult, out-of-my-control, situation reared its ugly head in my life. In fact, it was something that kept coming up over and over and no matter what I tried, the problem just wasn’t getting fixed or even getting pushed in the right direction. It wasn’t for lack of effort on my part. I had tried all four methods of fleeing, fighting, fainting and freezing along with better tools like counseling, prayer, you-name-it. That night, in the dark, on my knees, a last ditch effort at telling God I was super serious this time, the word “Hosanna” flooded my mind and also my mouth. I wasn’t sure why.
Of course, I had to check it out. What did this word that I had heard so often in my churchy life even mean? Thanks to ever-helpful Google, I found that “Hosanna” was originally an appeal for deliverance, a cry that shouted “PLEASE SAVE.” Over time, it developed into an expression of joy and praise for deliverance that was anticipated and would be granted, an oral burst of hope in God, an “anchor for your soul” kind of hope.
Being the “doer” that I am, I came up with a Hosanna list (that now exists on a pink sticky-note on my computer and I have a feeling you are going to try to see if you are on that list…that’s why I made it blurry…LOL), that being at the very top. I eventually added people and situations that seem completely out of my control, the ones that seem hopeless, the desperate, only God-can-fix-this, things. I only have one word for them: Hosanna. Please save. I repeat this often to myself when I see that pink note, “When you don’t know what to do, pray Hosanna.”
So what’s with hummus (see title of blog post)? Starting on Monday, I am participating in a partial fast for forty days during Lent, ending with a celebration on Best Friday (as my friend Jody has named it since she is getting married that night). I’m taking a break from some of the foods that I love: cheese, chips, and chocolate (to name a few) to make room for what’s better: hummus (along with veggies, fruit and nuts).
Forty days from now, I probably will be a little thinner and a lot healthier (great perks of this fast). But I want it to be much more than that. I am combining Hosanna and hummus. You guessed it. I want to take a break from my go-to, very natural methods of controlling and fixing (which I also love) to make room for what’s better for my soul: reflection, repentance and renewal. When I want to reach for the natural, I pray that I will instead be reminded to reach for the spiritual, the super-natural. I am asking God to “please save! Please save!” Speaking words of hope to my own heart that He is the BIG GOD who hears my deepest cries and can truly save and renew even the seemingly impossible in my life and the lives of those I love and even some that I don’t even know personally.
Today, I invite you to take this journey with me. You don’t have to give up what I’m giving up. This is personal. Along with this, I would be honored to hear what or who might be on your Hosanna list (click HERE to get in touch with me privately). If you want, I can add them to my pink list for the next 40 days and as I am eating my hummus, I will be quietly shouting “HOSANNA!”
By the way, it’s my birthday today! What a great way to start of my new year! I wonder how God will show up! I can’t wait to find out!
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