Just seven short hours into the Lenten season, I messed up Lent. In fairness, it was 7 a.m. and I had just woken up, but I think the sentiment still applies.
What is Lent?
Lent is the forty-day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. The name “Lent” is from the Middle English “Lencten,” meaning spring; its more primitive ecclesiastical name was the “forty days,” “quadragesima” in Latin or “tessaracoste” in Greek. (As Queen of Words, I felt it necessary to give you a word history lesson 🙂 You’re welcome.)
What I’ve Given Up
This year, I decided to do something a little out of the box and give up complaining for Lent. There have been years I’ve given up something more tangible – the last two years I gave up Facebook for personal use. I manage a few business pages, so I had to be able to utilize the app for those purposes. In college, I gave up Skittles one year. When I was younger, I also remember giving up watching Saved By The Bell (that one was ROUGH!).
But I thought to give up complaining would be a great challenge for me. I think it’s the perfectionist in me. I can spot something out of place, not quite right or less than optimal in a split second of entering a situation. I always find the negative. I do consider myself a happy person, but going negative is very natural to me. So, I thought this would be a good opportunity for personal growth as well as spiritual.
I Messed Up Lent
As soon as I came downstairs yesterday, everything was wrong. My sweet little 4-year-old, who has had a fever for 5 days, was off-the-chain whining; my 7-year-old was calling out demands like a drill sergeant; I was feeling less than optimal (I went to immediate care today and was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection) and the dog was breathing and taking up space.
So, I’m immediately barking at all of them. (See what I did there :)) After the initial shock from all the annoyances quieted down, I realized how I had messed up my Lenten fast. I felt awful and disappointed in myself. After a self-inflicted 13 Hail Mary’s to repent (I don’t know if that was necessary, but I felt I needed to do something), I got back on track.
To give up something I do without even thinking, most of the time, I’m going to fail. But I have made this a top of mind priority, so I hope I will succeed more often than not.
Have you ever given up something difficult for Lent? How did you stay on track?