Lent is fast approaching (a week from tomorrow)!! I am in the process of trying to decide what I should "do" for Lent . Ever since I was little, I used to give up a favorite treat. It could have been chocolate, or candy, or baked goods, or packaged foods, or tv, or even that Lent I tried to give up carbs (what was I thinking?). And usually I have found a way to fail in my humble attempts. There have been a plethora of reasons for my failures: it was my birthday, or a special date, or "Sundays don't count", or "Saturday evening is kinda like Sunday", or I was pregnant, or nursing, you get the point. Basically I was and am just a weak human being.
This Lent, I want to really stick to whatever I decide. I was talking to a priest friend of ours, asking his advice about what I should give up for Lent. He told me that I had to stop thinking in terms of just giving something up, that I needed to think about committing to something that would make me a better person. Something that would bring me closer to Jesus at the end of Lent than I was at the beginning of Lent. Something that would turn my imperfections and flaws into virtues and strengths.
It was exactly what I needed to hear. I previously thought about giving something up and sharing in Christ's sacrifice, but not about what to put in it's place that could make me a better faith-filled child of God.
While it's wonderful to give up chocolate, does it really bring me any closer to Christ? I think the answer is no. In fact, it might just make me a meaner person which could be harmful in my relationships ;)
If I give up tv, could that make me a better person? I again think not. TV is a bonding and relaxing time that Phil and I share after the kids are in bed for the night. If I had no prayer time, and gave up tv in order to pray in it's place instead, then yes, that would be great. But if it's not interfering with my relationship with Christ, and those around me, then I do not need to get rid of it.
So I'm trying very hard to think about what holds me back from Heaven at this stage in my life, and how I can turn it around to get a little bit closer by Easter time.
Some of my ideas so far are:
~Wake up early to make Phil's breakfast before work
~Make the kids lunches at night so Phil doesn't have to
~Wake up in the middle of the night when someone cries out (but I might be too scared for this!)
~Give more money to charities
~Work on my friendships
~Be more generous with my time to everyone and anyone who needs it
~Play with each of the kids individually each week
~Read about the lives of the Saints
~Help out a sibling with babysitting/picking up kids/giving them a break
~Get more involved in my parish
What else can I do?
What's worked for you in the past?
What are you going to do this year?