For many years as a child and teenager I always gave something up for Lent. I think the logic behind this (and correct me if I’m wrong) is that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by the devil without any worldly comforts before he started his ministry, therefore Christians should practice a period of reflection, repentance and self-denial before celebrating his death and resurrection.
However, I’ve kind of left this tradition by the wayside. I felt that somehow it wasn’t meaningful to give up chocolate or television in the 40 days before Easter. I mean, of course if I accompanied the self-denial of something frivolous with thoughtful reflection, I would have been closer to the mark, but that never was the case.
This year is going to be different. I NEVER make New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve decided to make Goals for Lent.
- No sweets. I know this is left-over from my childhood “fasting” during Lent, but it’s something I need to do. I’ve been ultra lazy this summer and my body feels blah. The one exception will be my birthday (April 5th, mark your calendars!).
- Walk to work. Or, alternatively, get my bike fixed and bike to work. Because I need concrete goals, I’m telling myself to do this at least 4 times per week.
- Write in my journal every day. Since I was 9 years old I’ve kept an old-fashioned journal. When I started blogging in college, I stopped writing things down on paper. A few days ago, I decided to start again. I hope to continue this way past Easter.
- Ask for and accept help. I had a mini-panic attack the other day when it finally hit me that F., my best friend here in Chile, was leaving for Australia for a year (I mean, I had known ever since he found out, but it hadn’t really settled in). You see, F. was the one I called when I had any sort of problem whatsoever, and he’s really the only person here in Chile I feel comfortable asking to come over when I’m vomiting my guts out. But he’s gone (currently on a plane, probably flying somewhere over Antarctica so positive thoughts for the pilot), which means that I will have to ask someone else for help if need be. Scary! But I know I can do it.
So those are my goals. I think these goals allow for self-reflection (especially writing in my journal) as well as making a sacrifice (no sweets, no sleeping in too late and taking the metro). I’m confident that I can accomplish these, but more importantly, if I “fall off the wagon” I know that I will have the integrity to keep going.
Are you making goals for Lent?