The parties have been attended; the king cake eaten; the festivities are winding down. I’m now trying to mentally prepare for lent which begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. What does God want me to give up? What spiritual/merciful act might He want me to add? What would best mold me into the person that God wants me to be?
I have a confession to make. I have not had a lot of success with giving up food items in the past. I am jealous of those who give up something they love for a whole 40 days with no problem! In moments of weakness, I fold. I eat. Then I feel really bad about myself – my lack of will power.
I think that I’ve been approaching the whole “giving up something” thing the wrong way. I am not supposed to use it to gain self-mastery, or to better myself by eating healthier – or in losing a few pounds. Giving up some luxury should be a stripping away of things that keep me from full communion with God. Perhaps if I approach fasting as an emptying of myself so that God may fill me – or as a gift of love to the God who gave His life for my redemption, I might do better. Self gift over self-mastery –
Perhaps, If I were to spend a few moments each day during lent contemplating Jesus’ total self gift by looking at the crucifix that hangs on the wall in my bedroom, God might give me the strength to keep my promise of self gift to Him. I’ve heard that it is a very good practice to meditate upon the passion of Christ for a few minutes each and every day. Shamefully, I avoid this, because it is painful to know that I caused Christ’s pain. I do pray the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, but I must say that I much, much prefer the joyful ones!
What do I depend on each day – What am I using as a crutch? What might come between me and God?
Dr. Phil/nap time – fulfills my need to check out/recharge
coffee – fulfills my need for warmth and talk time with Eric
Facebook – fulfills my “need to know”
chocolate – fulfills my need for empty calories??/
bread, butter, cheese – the French in me – I could live off of this!
1D Four CD – elevates my mood with a little “sing a long”
After making the list above, it seems to me the most beneficial thing might be subtracting the Facebook. There I go again -thinking of how it benefits me – instead of “emptying” or “gifting.” Of course, this would not include my WordPress posts which automatically get posted to Facebook. I just wouldn’t go checking out Facebook for feedback or to find out who is doing what. Perhaps, the time I spend on Social Media could be time better spent. I think that I may also give up the radio in the car on Fridays and spend that time in conversation with God.
I’m also going to make a lenten “bowl of good deeds”. I did this with my kids a couple of years back – a borrowed idea. Each day the youngest will choose a strip, and we will do what the strip says. Some examples include:
making a card for someone who is sick/lonely
saying EXTRA prayers as a family
picking up litter in the neighborhood
performing a random act of kindness, etc.
I hope that my thinking out loud has helped you to begin thinking about your plans for Lent. It is upon us! I will keep you all in my prayers as we enter into this journey from winter to spring (thinking of those who are snowed in right now), from darkness to light, from death to resurrection, from lent to Easter! Have a blessed Ash Wednesday, everyone!