Welcome to Lent. The season of giving up chocolate for Jesus.
It’s a season I never really understood until my friend explained it this way: you decide to give up or change a habit or something about yourself that is probably sinful and not pleasing to God, but you’re supposed to fail to show you just how miserable you really are so you fall on your face and beg Jesus for mercy. OR something like that. We’re supposed to fail so we realize how pathetic we really are. Now that’s MY kind of holiday!
But see, in the end, Easter comes and Jesus has not only died for us, He has risen so that all of our failures are taken away and we are restored and can stand righteous before God, cleansed by the blood of Christ.
I’m sure if you aren’t a Christian, and even for some who are, that sounds perfectly awful. I’m sure you’d much rather give up chocolate for 40 days and feel good about yourself. Go ahead, but as my pastor says “If you are addicted to porn, don’t give up chocolate…”
If you’re still reading, GREAT!
Last year I gave up going to Wegmans and wasting time on Facebook. I became acquainted with my new love Aldi and realized that Walmart is really probably as bad as we all make it out to be. But I still go there. I am not above Walmart! And neither is my budget. The hard part for me was getting my favorite dark chocolate without going to Wegmans. But see, my husband could still go there because he doesn’t believe and doesn’t participate so really, in the end, it was helpful but not much of a sacrifice. And I didn’t fail.
So this year, I spent some time pondering what to do. First I decided to DO something rather than take something away. I decided I would pray daily for my husband. My prayer life has been dry and uninspired and in need of some refreshment. It’s still not great but I’m praying. And I have a purpose.
Then I decided that wasn’t enough. Well, nothing is ever ENOUGH, which is always the problem, and I wanted something MORE. How can I change something I don’t like about myself that would be for God’s glory and not my own? And then it hit me. Bed Time. I HATE bedtime. Or more like, I hate the way it’s been happening in my house. But I haven’t had the will to do anything about it and since my husband usually does it, I’ve just let it go. So, I am now “doing” bedtime. It feels more like penance, but I’m doing it. I still hate it. I’d much rather sit downstairs, drinking a glass of wine and getting angry that it’s taking so freaking long. This is as much a discipline for my lazy ass self as it is for my children. They get away with murder (its all daddy’s fault…) but now mean mommy is putting them to bed. I want a routine. And I want them to go to SLEEP. But I don’t want to do it myself. I’d rather they be easy children who do what I say, when I say it. Cheerfully. They are most certainly not that. So, off I go at night. Maybe by the end I’ll actually enjoy it. Right now I feel like a wolf trying to chew off her paw to escape the trap without ending up with the children crying. And that’s probably just how it’s supposed to be. All for Jesus.
I could be living in a cardboard box next to the rail road tracks in Indonesia. I know I am blessed. For whatever reason, Jesus allowed me to be here, in the lap of luxury in the US. I am grateful, dammit. And my little bit of sacrifice at bedtime is nothing compared to what Jesus did. 40 nights. I can do this.