For 20 years, I have observed Lent. The purpose of Lent is to sacrifice something that is difficult for you to give up as a way to prepare for Easter. For 20 years, I have made the promise to give up soft drinks, sugar, alcohol, etc. Some of those were more difficult than others. Alcohol was particularly difficult to give up when I was teaching (university and middle school equally). However, I haven’t been able to drink alcohol for a couple of years now due to migraines, so that isn’t an option. Giving up soft drinks has also proven to be painful to me as Coke Zero and Pepsi Max flow through my veins. But, soft drinks started making me feel unwell a few months ago and it seems like cheating to give those up.
I had been struggling with Lent this year until I attended my church’s Ash Wednesday service. Then, I heard my priest’s sermon and I understood that I had been missing the point of Lent for the last 20 years. Lent is about sacrifice, but it is also about making changes within yourself that prepare you for Jesus’s sacrifice. The sacrifice I make shouldn’t just be something that causes me discomfort; it should be helping someone else.
So, what am I giving up for Lent this year? Well, I’m doing something for my health and giving up soft drinks and refined sugar. More importantly, I’m giving up some bad habits that I’ve acquired over the years. I am giving up bitterness and resentment. I am giving up self-pity. I am giving up feelings of unworthiness. Finally, I am giving up negativity. I may have to avoid social media to accomplish the last one. I am a realist, though, and I reserve the right to point out problems that I see.
I’m also going to do something for me and for the Queen, I’m going to take her out as much as possible for runs in her stroller. We did buy the running stroller anyway.
Will I be successful in my Lenten sacrifice? I can’t make any promises, but I will try my hardest.