Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent 2012

Do you give up things for Lent? I remember in elementary school several Catholic kids made a big deal about this. I think they did it for the attention and didn't really get why they were giving anything up, but I gave it a stab a couple times because it seemed like the cool thing to do. It was usually brownies or chocolate or something, and I always caved - quite early. I'd start by making exceptions, and then all out blow it by week two or so.

"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." - Matthew 6:1

A few years ago, I tried again, with greater success. I remember an Ash Wednesday sermon that encouraged taking an action as a way to grow closer to God, but to do if privately. Instead of flaunting the fact that I couldn't eat certain things, I only told those who needed to know, the the sense of willpower at the end was very, well, empowering! I consulted God throughout my day to help me abstain from the temptations and cravings. And at the end I felt like, although it was a relatively small triumph in the grand scheme, that I COULD do all things through Christ, even against my fleshly desires.

This year I am not giving up food - I'm pregnant. I'm not committing to anything - I will soon have a newborn. I'm not gettin' my exercise on - again, the pregnancy card is being played....

I'm not doing anything to set myself up for failure. I'm simply giving up stress/worry for Lent.

How can you actually give up stress. Or worry. I decided, while I may not always be successful or even remotely rid of stress and worry, I do tend to let myself focus on those emotions too often rather than learn to let go of the unnecessary and lean on God for the rest. So, I think it's pretty timely with the baby coming and all. I've already let go of a few things: Lost camera at IKEA? Borrow one. Only a handful of diapers at home? Wal-Mart is two miles from home. Seriously, these are the kinds of things I stress and worry about, more than I should. And then of course there are the bigger worries: healthy baby, safe delivery, Brady's response to a sibling, my emotional state, potential accidents or catastrophes, etc, etc.

I know this isn't something I can do on my own. My natural tendency is to be a controlling worry-wart. I will have to lean on Joel, family, friends, and of course God to help me keep stress and worry at bay - especially with wacky hormones.

I don't really have a way to track, succeed, or fail at this, which is also a good thing. It is what it is, and at the end maybe, just maybe, I'll start to naturally worry/stress less and remember to take each day at a time, being thankful for all I have today instead of anticipating the worries of tomorrow.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:3

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." - Philippians 4:6

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