I always enjoyed Lent as a child Catholic. I liked the idea of taking 40 days to improve myself, and I used to take it very seriously as a way to prepare myself for the salvation of Christ. And while I don’t have the religious beliefs anymore to support the actual calendar involved with Lent, I still really like to look at the 40 days as a time of the year to focus on bettering myself. Just for my own personal edification, and not for anything related to the life or death or resurrection of any religious figure.
I’ve been thinking about how bad I’ve sucked in the last few years on following through with big declarations of projects or improvements. I’ve actually been thinking about that every since a daily prompt from the Subtraction Project gave me permission to get rid of a project I hadn’t finished yet.
It was – at that moment – that I realized how many projects I had that I hadn’t finished yet. And how many of them I just didn’t have the energy – or heart in some cases – to finish.
So, while part of me has all of these great ideas about writing letters every day, or paying compliments, or not yelling, or…
I’m learning to embrace vague notions of improvement, instead of specific steps or projects or commitments. Because – as much as I hate to admit it – I have a very busy schedule, a short attention span, and I’m easily distracted. Or, maybe less flatteringly, I easily give up.
So, I’m going to try to approach this 40 days with a lot less specificity. I’m going to embrace concepts and attitudes and not concrete limitations or challenges.
Instead of, “I’m not drinking any Diet coke!” I’m going to say, “I’m going to drink more water, less Diet Coke.”
Instead of, “I’m going to quit binge eating when I’m stressed!” I’m going to say, “I’m going to respect my stress and spend time with it, thinking about what I need most in that moment to help bring me peace.”
Instead of challenging myself to read 20 books, I’m going to just read more.
Instead of counting calories and trying to lose the 15lbs I’ve gained over the last 6 months (Every time I say that out loud I get depressed.) I’m going to try to be more AWARE of my food choices. I’m going to try to punish myself less and forgive myself more.
Instead of swearing I’m not going to yell at the kid at all for 40 days, I’m going to try to talk to the kids more and love them more.
Instead of making specific “spreading joy” challenges, I’m going to simply try to smile more to strangers.
I just want to spend 40 days with a trend towards positivity. Not specific additions or concrete declarations of abstinence of any sort…but with a general shift towards the positive end of the spectrum of behavior. I want an attitude shift towards light instead of constantly finding myself settled in the dark of disappointment.
There is ONE challenge I saw that I’m going to do. I’m going to write ONE positive thing in my bullet journal every day, about myself. Maybe I’m having a good hair day, maybe I handled a tantrum from Wesley with grace. Maybe I repaired a sink (I did that today! Why didn’t I save that for tomorrow?) or cleaned a toilet. Either way – I’m going to challenge myself to write something in my bullet journal that I’m HAPPY with about myself. I need to be kinder to myself.
How are you embracing Lent?
Update: Since I’ve not been sleeping well, I wrote this last night, worried I might not wake up in time to write it this morning. Then Wes had a severe episode of stomach cramps that lasted all night. (I have decided the cause is Fritos, something different I was putting in the lunch boxes this week. Is there such thing as an allergy to cornchips?) He was awake from 10:30 until 1am and then he only slept in 20 minute increments the rest of the night. And only after a bath. He took FIVE baths last night. And one shower. To spice things up.
My point? I only resorted to delirious/exhausted begging and tears ONCE. The rest of the time I did an excellent job caring for my miserable child with love and patience. I AM ALREADY KICKING LENT’S ASS.