So…Lent starts this Wednesday!?
Per usual, it totally crept up on me and now I’m scrambling to figure out what to give up. I don’t think the decision has to be made BY WEDNESDAY – I definitely want it to be more meaningful than rushed, though I like the idea of sacrificing something at the start of the season. Oh, and being prepared. That’s important, too. Obviously, I haven’t given it much thought or discernment, but I’m pretty sure I know exactly what I need to offer to Christ. It’s something that occurs to me every time I pray and each time I get frustrated – I have to give up my will. Which is going to be tough, because I love my will.
I’m mostly in control of the household goings-on since I’m an at-home wife/mama, but I admit to being a not-so-great steward of this responsibility and the symptoms are starting to show. I wake up with a thin layer of patience for my kids. At the first overwhelming challenge, I want to isolate myself with my computer to check Facebook, email, and/or Pinterest just to get away for a few minutes. Of course, the boys know exactly where I am and will tug, nag, and cry until I cave and put a video on to keep them occupied (I’m aware this isn’t a good solution for any of us), but that never suffices and in no time at all, they’re back at my side with the same old routine. More frustration ensues for each of us, all because I wanted to dodge toddler crises (though I’ve actually created one) and do what I wanted to do right then instead of acknowledging that it could’ve waited. Suppertime is a similar story – because of the allowed chaos, I dread the “what’s for dinner” question; not because I can’t whip up a viable response, but because I know without preparation throughout the day, the meal won’t be quality. I don’t prep much (or at all) because, at 8 months pregnant, I opt for a nap instead when the boys go down. And though it’s too humbling to mention, our laundry situation could use some work as well.
In the moments of seeking instant gratification to scratch an itch for isolation or insisting on getting my own way, I pick ME over my family and over humbly serving God through tending to them. It leads to all sorts of embarrassment in addition to the shame of knowing I could do better if I just put off what I want until a more suitable time. If I want things to go smoothly with the boys (who are 16 mos. and nearly 3), I have to play with them, invest in them, and just plain ol’ pay attention to them; because it’s not TV or some other activity they want and cry for, it’s their mama. Saving computer tasks for later so I can love them responsibly now results in 1) a happier at-home trio and 2) having children who know without a doubt that their mother is crazy about them. I could cheerfully anticipate dinner every night if I had a doable plan to execute throughout the day, and laundry wouldn’t even come up if I managed a load during the boys’ nap.
When were were growing up, my dad drilled into my siblings and me the phrase Proper previous planning prevents poor performance and I confess that this resonates more often when looking back on a rough day rather than anticipating one. In facing my self-inflicted downfalls, it hit me that proper previous planning doesn’t apply to just day-to-day logistics of home management, but so much more to my spiritual life. If I want to succeed at giving up my will for Lent, I think I have to add consistent morning prayer to my routine. As of now, I don’t have a regular prayer time by myself and I know that if I were pre-prayered for each day, I’d be more willing to respond to God’s call to serve my family and go beyond myself to do so. I used to read the Bible all the time as well as Divine Mercy in my Soul and A Mother’s Rule of Life, all of which have collected dust in recent months. What I really want to do is develop a strong relationship with the Blessed Virgin through frequently praying the Rosary, too. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew since my soul is rusty at this whole “regular individual prayer” thing, but I’m so looking forward to the peace that will reign once I habitually and deliberately submit each day to Christ.
OK! So here it is, everybody! I can be held accountable by at least the fact that I’ve proclaimed it so publicly – I’m sacrificing my will and committing to daily morning prayer starting Ash Wednesday… well, it will probably need to start today, but I’ll keep it up during Lent. Hold me to it!
On a side note: sometimes I think the realizations I have and the lessons I learn are all-too elementary, which only reveals my soul’s very basic level of understanding. I wish I could share some profoundly deep insight into scripture or spout wisdom valuable enough for the whole world to hear; but truly, I’m grateful that God condescends to my simple nature to call me to love him.
Other Thoughts Regarding Lent:
- You don’t have to tell anyone what you’re giving up for Lent.
- Your Lenten sacrifices, prayers, and other deeds don’t have to end with Easter
- The purpose of Lenten promises is to grow closer to Christ
- There are three traditional aspects of Lent – prayer, fasting, and almsgiving
- Lent begins Ash Wednesday and ends Holy Thursday
- Easter is an octave celebration (8 days long) and the whole season lasts until Pentecost, which is May 19th this year