Olivia, sporting her Lenten ashes.Lent is here, and I promised on Wednesday that I'd be writing something about Lenten observance. Not because I particularly think you care, but because writing it here gives me some sort of accountability in keeping my Lenten resolutions.
A lot of people talk about giving something up for Lent, and for most people it's something like chocolate or soft drinks or candy. I'm not big on chocolate or soft drinks or candy. So I decided to give up eating out during my weekday errands. This includes coffee or drink stops too. And it is HARD. Three days in, and I'm already working the discipline muscles to keep this resolution.
I know, it may sound like a cop-out because this leaves open the possibility of eating out on weekends or even week nights. But this is (a) something we rarely do and (b) something I typically only do with my husband, and I didn't want to give up something we can do together because we don't get that many opportunities to go out and the ones we do get are important.
For me, not eating out does require discipline because whenever I'm "in town" with Olivia, I am always, ALWAYS tempted to swing into a drive-through for a snack or drink or something. I'm very food centered. And it always feels like I need to treat myself to SOMETHING because errands with the toddler = NOT EASY.
So yesterday, we went into town for a meeting and a few errands, and I counted six times that I consciously had to remind myself not to stop. There are a lot of drive-throughs, let me tell you. I even found myself craving items at places that I almost NEVER stop.
I was thinking about Lenten discipline and the meaning of it the other day. It's important to try to have a greater focus on prayer and preparing yourself to celebrate Easter, which is the ultimate in high holy feast days...the pinnacle of the Church year. We do work hard to spend more time in prayer and find ways to pray together during Lent.
But the idea of giving something up is a little different. Why the sacrifice? Sacrifice requires denying yourself, dying to self-interests in order to be more open to God's will in your life. Every single time I'm tempted to get a coffee or a milkshake or an order of tator tots (mmm...), I have to consciously say "no" to myself, and this discipline makes it easier to say "no" to other things in my life...things that may be in the way of my relationship with God. If I embrace this sacrifice prayerfully, it can help me grow closer to God throughout Lent.
So there it is. I'm hungry. All this talk about food...plus, it's lunch time. And if you made it this far in this post, here's a little photographic reward to make you smile.
Hunka Hunka Baby Love