As a Christian the season of Lent holds a certain sense of sacrifice with it every year. As much as I appreciate the people who attempt (some succeed) in giving up vices for the 40 days, I feel like it is rather cheap. I do not mean to offend. I feel, me, myself personally, that Lent is a time of removing the unnecessary from our lives. It is a time to clarify our core beliefs, the things we hold the most dear. It is not just a time to give up swearing, or fast food or facebook. If those or any one vice you need to give, good, do it, but just don’t do it for the forty days. Do it completely. The forty days are a tool or a step to reaching the life you envision, to be the person you want to be. This can be so for anyone, not just someone seeking a life more like Christ’s, a life of sacrifice and poverty. Though in essence, to live a life of love.
This is easier said than done. I am not perfect, in fact I am world renowned for self-indulgence, whining and quick-tempered outbursts. But I yearn to live a life like Christ’s. I see my faults and I try to address them, however it takes time. We are human, we are imperfect, we have to do this again and again. Year after year. I find myself so overwhelmed with guilt and fear that I forget why I care so much to put myself through the constant guilt. I need to keep trying, because it is then that I can focus on my outcome. Keep my intentions in check and not just give up again.
It helps to itemize and do it regularly. I bought a book last year called something to the effect Me: Five Years From Now. It is a workbook and it breaks down every area of your life physical, social, mental, family, career, spiritual etc. and asks you questions about goals, progress, etc. Its a self help book and I am usually too overwhelmed and depressed to want to help myself. I didn’t get past the Physical Health Section. But I kept at it, for awhile… Now you guys know me and know that I struggle with my weight/ eating/ stress/ food constantly. I have an almost insatiable appetite and its really takes a lot of personal willpower to not eat as I type this entry. Getting away from the mindless eating, ugh. But what I think kept me from keeping up with the Physical Health Section was that I was setting too many goals. I was supposed to be eating better and drinking more water and drinking less coffee and going for walks, etc.
I live in utter chaos most days. We’re poor to working class, my husband is out of town half of every week for his job, I work full time, in retail, and I have no one “set” child care provider, I live with, cook for and help put to bed my 92 yr. old grandmother. It is nuts. So it takes a lot of time and effort to worry about me, but I need to worry about me because that way my children will be able to take care of themselves(physically, spiritually, mentally), when they are older. I need to do this for THEM. So I am working out the details, itemizing what I can do and what is too much at a time. But I am trying, God knows I am.
So my forty days of Lent are a starting point, my step 1. Maybe if I can manage something for forty days solid, the next forty days won’t be so hard, or maybe they will be harder. But I am cutting the fat, as it were. Taking the unnecessary out of my life to get it closer to the life that I want to live. The life of love that we are all called to on some level.
I hope your season of Lent, or even just your Spring season if you are not a religious person, is a time of new beginnings, a time of renewal, a time for only the necessary.