Answers in the Night

Turn the calendar page tomorrow and surprise, it’s March already. I can’t believe it. And what’s even harder to believe is that Lent starts on Wednesday.

That time of year again when our thoughts turn to prayer, penance, and almsgiving, the hallmarks of Lent. We are supposed to give up something for these forty days. Doesn’t it sort of feel like we have been living in Lent for about two years now? The pandemic has forced us to give up a lot so I feel like self-denial isn’t as big a stretch this year.

I’ve decided this Lent to DO something that is a stretch and a challenge instead. The question was, what would that be? The answer came after a lot of tossing and turning, literally.

Every once in a while, my internal clock goes haywire and I find myself awake most of the night. It happened earlier this week. I remembered someone in one of the Firstfruits sessions say that she often uses her restless nights as opportunities to talk to God. I used the first four hours of my restless night as an opportunity to worry about the fact that I wasn’t sleeping, fret about everything I needed to do the next day and would be too tired to do, construct long overdue conversations with people who upset me years ago, re-live mistakes, and just catastrophize about pretty much everything.

Then around five o’clock I remembered what I heard at Firstfruits and decided a chat with God was about the only thing I hadn’t done. So, I started chatting and He heard me. I told God that I was tired of all the stressing, worrying, controlling, fixing, planning, and judging. There had to be an easier way to live. There had to be more peaceful approach to life. That’s when I “heard” it. My marching orders.

Just love and let me do the rest.

It sounds so simple but it isn’t so simple to do. It’s going to take way more discipline than giving up chocolate. I’ve been practicing for three days now and seem to be holding my own. Throughout the day, when I am tempted to worry, control, judge, or fix I repeat those words to myself. Then I try to find ways to love. Since doing this I have found myself calmer and more receptive to the good around me.

The hardest part is trusting God that He WILL do the rest. That He will somehow appease my sense of injustice and resentment when I choose to love someone who has hurt me.  That He will multiply my time and get my work done when I choose to listen in love to someone who needs to talk. And that He will soften the heart of the person who I choose to love regardless of the fact that she is so critical.

I just need to focus on keeping up my end of the bargain.

So, this Lent, what am I going to DO? Just love and let God do the rest.

Care to join me?


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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