Chocolate. TV. Facebook. Complaining. We all look for that ultimate “sacrifice” that we feel God is calling us to for Lent. Once again, Lent came quickly at my house and I wasn’t prepared. How could I be prepared to enter the preparatory season for Easter, or the season of Lent? There was no vacation to ponder my life. I was still “knee deep” in laundry, dishes and lesson planning for five active children. I was still trying to figure out how to get everything done on a daily basis and still give the semblance of order. My daily prayers were for God to multiple my time, my work, my patience…not to have to “make time” to “figure out the whole Lent thing”!!!
As I sat at the breakfast room table on Ash Wednesday drinking a cup of tea, I tried to just clear my mind and think of the best sacrifice for where I am in my life. As I sat thinking about nothing but the taste of Vanilla caramel tea, I picked up this little black Lenten book that my church had given out at Mass earlier that day. I remember reading a little reflection that talked about Lent being a time that we work on our interior “house”, a time for us to ask ourselves what in our life was preventing us from a closer relationship with God. So quietly, and yet so firm, I was convicted of the fact that I never quiet myself. When I watch TV, I am folding laundry or paying bills. When I am driving in my minivan, I am listening to music or talking on my phone. I love talking. I constantly “check in” with friends, and family during the day. I love the sense of accomplishment when I get a bunch of stuff “crossed off” my list or I can tackle something that has been lording over me. However, is that all that I need in my life? To complete loads of laundry or make that DIY “pin” that I pinned to my Pinterest account? What does my soul need?
Sit in the quiet. It sounds pretty simple but the ramifications in my life could very well be unparalleled to any Lenten sacrifice that I have made thus far. Sit and do nothing. Say nothing, listen to nothing, do nothing for several times during my day. Tune out the sounds of “life” as I know it. Make nothing else a priority during those times. I know this will be one of my hardest Lents yet, if I really honor this sacrifice. I know my mind will wrestle with everything that I “could” do doing during that time. I will see the time, for a few sessions, as wasteful…..however, I will trust that the Lord will bless that sacrifice and use it to teach me invaluable lessons.
Maintain control. Stop yelling. My five year old daughter confirmed my need for this Lenten challenge. It’s really tough when you “see” your children mimicking your behavior especially your vices. It’s painful to watch your three year old, with her hands on her hips, “yelling” at her siblings to pick up their mess. It’s tough to correct your children for their voices and the harsh tone in their voice when you know that they have followed your great example. So…..this Lent will be about me taming the inner beast within….
I pray that this Lent you will be able to pinpoint those areas in your life that keep you from finding that inner happiness that our God wants for you. As we prepare to experience the joys of Easter, may we cling to that dusty, dirty, strenuous path to the cross. God bless.