"Focus on the small, fervent, open-ended commitments that will allow you to be a receptacle rather than a mover-and-a-shaker; an instrument as opposed to a walking list of holy to-dos." ~ND Friend
It was hard for me to decide what to give up for Lent this year. Being the Type-A list maker that I am, I made a list of options: Chocolate. Sweets. Cheese. Cursing. Television. Blogs. Facebook. Texting.
And then, the rationalizer and worrier in me started: Well, wait, what about March Madness. Okay, so television except for March Madness. Well what about at the gym? I can't run with my eyes closed. Okay, Facebook. Crap, what about Uncle Black Belt's stories on Facebook that I need for the book? No good. All blogs. But, my friends have blogs. That's how I keep up with their lives. Texting. I spend a lot of time doing that. Seriously, how am I going to ignore texts when they come in? And I have friends having babies for crying out loud! Cheese. That's fattening. I am probably going to be having a couple of going away dinners and that food will have cheese in them. And sometimes, a well placed four letter word is quite effective.
By this point, I was completely stressed out and ready to just throw my hands up in the air.
Enter in ND Friend and this amazing blog that she wrote last week. She pretty much spoke right to my legalistic, list-making self. And told me to knock it off.
As she reminded me, Lent isn't about lists, or technicalities, or giving up the most things. It's not about eating fish on Fridays (which I refuse to do... vegetarianism for a day it is!) or whether the definition of "sweet" indeed includes breakfast pastries. Sure, all of these things can be effective tools to accomplish the purpose of Lent, but they are not the purpose in and of themselves.
The purpose of Lent is to share in the suffering of Jesus. To remember what happened 2000 years ago on a hill called Golgatha. To focus our minds and prepare our hearts for the horror of Good Friday and the celebration of Easter Sunday. No list is going to do that.
And so, I threw out the list. I have chosen a couple of things that I have given up with a purpose and I intend to read the Lenten reflections given to me by Mrs. Hepburn. But I'm not going to panic over trying to be the best Lent-er. I am going to do my very best to focus on the purpose of the next 40 days. Essentially, this Lent, I am making ND Friend's prayer my own. That I may be an instrument, rather than a holy to-do list. Amen.
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