My Lent discipline this year is taking on something new. One week into experimenting with a new FB page called Spiritual Leaders and I’m fumbling. When the page comes up, immediately I have three options for creating a story, posting, and boosting my post. But, I think to myself, I’ve done all that before. Why is “The Page” asking for the same information? How do I sort out how to make the post prominent and not the photo? I have not even gotten to changing the photo. Yet I know for many reading this blog that my questions seem overly simple. Of course you do …. Yet …. is not clear to me when I look at the page.
With all my fumbling, I feel silly and even incompetent. Social media is something I should be able to figure out. Everybody else can! Am I the only one? Before I know it, I beginning to think that trying a new thing is not good for me.
My thought pattern makes we wonder what is it like if I flip it around to something I am really good at and I’m asking others to try it out and practice it. No adult likes to feel incompetent. Yet now I’m wondering how some people feel when those of us who are really good at church traditions, history, disciplines, and liturgies invite others in Lent to fast, to pray, and to give alms. What if praying makes them feel incompetent because they are accustomed to having the beautiful and powerful prayers said for them? What if fasting feels too much like John the Baptist and Jesus, people they believe they will never approximate? What if giving alms distinctly does not feel like a spiritual discipline but rather something that is embarrassing to talk about in church because it involves money? These are not rational barriers any more my fumbling with social media is a rational barrier. All the same, they are barriers.
How are we breaking down those barriers into small enough steps so that by trying we experience both discipline and success? For me, I’m going to keep up my FB fumbling and try one more thing. I will allow myself to say this may not look pretty, or sound eloquent, and I can be awkward in public. I will also allow myself to say, eventually I’ll get there. And, I will offer the same comfort to other brave adults who risk trying out traditional Lent disciplines in public or in the inner reaches of their hearts.