After a pretty rough fight with OCD yesterday, which I lost and left me feeling down and out, I decided to play hooky today. I called into work and school sick. When I woke up this morning after indulging in some sleep until the sun was high in the sky, the first thing I did was stumble over to my desk calendar and glare at it. I had hatched this magnificent plan for this week, forsaking school and my own personal life, in order to “finish strong” on a project that had been haunting me (I have a whole other post about anxiety and work to write up after this). Totally unnecessary and yet overdoing it would make me feel “better”, at the cost of being drained and burnt out of course (why do we do that?).
As I was glaring at this week on my calendar, I noted that today is Ash Wednesday! The beginning of Lent. Lent is actually not a big deal for my family (it is not a deal at all actually). In fact, I have never been part of a church which even acknowledged Lent. In spite of that, I have always been intrigued by this 40-day event. I get the feeling that if done right it could be the kind of season that restores your connection with God, gives you a sense of self-awareness and peace that we lose so easily in our hectic world, and at the very least can be the breaking of bad habits and establishment of good ones.
Confession: because Lent was never apart of my church growing up, I know nothing about it. I have no official education on what it means or how to do it or why we do it (I’m planning to read this for starters: http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatislent.htm), but I hold onto any hope for a fresh start or a shift in perspective. Maybe that sounds shallow , but I need any hope and inspiration I can find right now. I think in our world, we are just so busy and overly-connected that for some of us, we need to get our alignment fixed more frequently than we know. I think giving something up, as many of my friends do for Lent, can be a good start for that looking inward and readjusting. In this blog post by Wayne Meisel called Lent:Spring Training for Christians, Wayne shares that his mom encouraged him to not only give things up, but to replace them with something he would rather do, and that each Lent has brought him a new epiphany with lasting impact. Wayne also does great job of putting into words how the simple act of giving something up can be transformative.
So what are you going to give up for Lent? And what will you replace it with?
I’ll have to think about it for a little bit.