If you woke up in a gutter in New Orleans this morning then you are probably painfully aware of what today is. For the rest of us, it’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season. Announcement: I love Lent! I love mindful sacrifice. I love intentional reflection. Love, love, love.
It is traditional for people to give something up during Lent to increase their mindful attention to God’s immense, ineffable love for us. Common practices include fasting, omission of sugar or chocolate, or some other form of sacrifice. In the past I’ve given up TV (even my beloved Biggest Loser). I’ve given up sweets. And, hardest of all, I’ve given up breakfast tacos. That was a rough year. Another slightly less common practice is to adopt a discipline. So rather than giving something up you take on a responsibility. Some people incorporate a specific time for prayer and scriptural study. Some people commit to an exercise regime as a an example of more mindful stewardship of the life God has given them. There’s lots of options. In the past I have also taken this route and adopted a spiritual discipline. Because I am by nature a commitment-phobe, I find this option more demanding, and therefore, I guess, a greater opportunity to notice my spiritual growth. Committing to do something everyday is way more challenging than committing to not doing something everyday. In fact committing to not do something is super rewarding to the commitment-phobic personality. Each time you don’t eat the chocolate or don’t watch the TV you get this little jolt of euphoria. Like, take that chocolate, I just stood you up. You can’t tie me down, chocolate. Boo-yah.
So this year I have decided to adopt a spiritual practice rather than giving something up. Of course, to make time for my spiritual practice I will, by necessity, need to give somethings up. My goal this Lenten season is to live my life in such a way that it directly reflects my goals and values. For example, I love writing, but I spend way more time watching TV than writing. Also, I’d like to become a better writer, but I don’t practice it with the kind of discipline required to actually become better. So for the next forty days and forty nights I am striving each day to make sure that I spend my time deliberately. I value teaching, I value writing, I value my family, I value the farm, I value cooking, I value my friends, and many more things that I hope my life would reflect. So I’m gonna turn on the discipline and make sure I am living in such a way that honors the life God has given me. I’ll report back and let you know how things turn out. In the meantime, know that I value and appreciate the community of readers who have supported this blog and our endeavors here on the farm. Thanks to all of you who support us with your comments on the blog, or your messages to me on Facebook, or your phone calls, or the questions and comments you relay to me through my Mom. You are all blessings in my life, and I thank God for you.