Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Lenten Promise

It started in November when it was still sporadically warm enough to wear shorts.  We wanted to avoid No-Shave-November to keep our options open.

Enter No-Soda-November.  For the month of November, my suitemates and I gave up soda.  There was a little bit of cheating forgetting but, as a whole, we did well.  Not going to lie, on December first I had root beer mixed with milk.  It sounds gross, but it's delicious.  I don't think I've had any soda since.

In December, Allyson and Jennifer gave up fried foods.  A little bit more failure.  Always justified in some bizarre way or another.

In January, the two gave up eating after eight pm.  By now the other four of us were beginning to realize this habit of giving something up was more about stubbornness than it was health.  More about temporary sacrifice and self control than building better habits.  We started to convince them that exceptions could be made.  "This fresh out of the oven cookie is still part of dinner.  Dessert just wasn't ready yet because we at dinner at 7:30."

In February, the shortest month, Jennifer and Allyson started their hardest mission: no sweets.  No chocolate, no desserts, no mochas, no Valentines candy...  They began to consume potato chips at the speed of light.  I kid you not, Jennifer ate an entire bag of cheddar Lays in one sitting.  Around the middle of February, they went to Taco Bell and declared cinnamon twists chips rather than sweets.  Allyson even poured the remaining cinnamon and sugar into her mouth.  Needless to say, we declared them failures.  For the rest of the month, they hid their sweet-eating from judgmental persons.

They did not give up anything for the month of March.  Ironically, the month in which Lent starts.

Today, Ash Wednesday, a lot of the Christian community around the world is sacrificing something.  However, unlike Jennifer and Allyson, our sacrifice is not out of stubbornness.  Our sacrifice is to honor the One who sacrificed His life on the cross.  Our sacrifice is about growing spiritually closer to our Savior.

Figuring out what to give up for Lent is always a challenge for me.  I try to avoid giving up anything food-related because we'll just be honest: I'm a skinny kid.  Skinny kids and food sacrifices don't sit well with the rest of the world.

Two years ago I gave up facebook... and learned refreshing the page actually helps me think.
Last year I vowed to blog no more frequently than every other day... a habit I have kept.

This year I'm thinking about:
- giving up my car to save on gas... but I only drive the car pool one Sunday morning out of every three
- giving up socks... that was Nikki's idea
- giving up the color purple... I might get in trouble for public indecency.
- giving up my thesis... ooh, I like that idea
- getting more exercise... can you see this skinny kid on a treadmill?
- drinking only milk and water... oh, wait, that's pretty much covers it.
- giving up breathing... what's that?

For Lent this year, I'm going to work on two things:
1 - spending more time in serious prayer, ideally in the form of 20 minutes or more a day in our campus prayer room.
2 - affirming or encouraging at least one person every day, perhaps through the mail or in other Project 7-like ways.

What are you giving up or adding for Lent?

<>< Katie

PS: Guess what?  Today's Ash Wednesday meaning... in 40 days I get to go home for Easter!  (I haven't been home since Christmas).

No comments: