A Real Lenten Challenge

Two years ago I wrote about my enjoyment of Lent, or perhaps better said the benefits of the practices of Lent.  All of that still holds true.  I still like to balance my practice between deepening spirituality, self-sacrifice and self-improvement.  Hopefully as the sacrificing and improving are going on, I’m also thinking about a greater connection to my faith.  It doesn’t always work.  I sometimes fall and give in to temptation and forget the whole thing.  Admittedly, and probably why I’m writing this now, I am genuinely nervous about what I plan to do this year.  It ranks right up there with giving up sugar and sports media.  Both were hard to do and only one has sorta kinda lasted (hint it isn’t the sugar.)


So what is it going to be? Two big things.  One was what I gave up on last year, treats at work.  Dear God, that was tough.  It is amazing how much food is on offer at the office.  I haven’t ever really put it to the test, but I bet I could do pretty well just scrounging around the kitchenettes on the various floors.  And I do mean well.  Many of the food choices that come my way are pretty high end and highly caloric.  Mostly post-catering grub but someone, myself included, bring in treats.

The second is a big challenge.  I’m going to give up social media.  Now, there are some parameters of what is and is not included.  The biggies (at least for me) are definitely out; no Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr all gone.  I don’t do much on other platforms, but still no Instagram, Pinterest, and anything else that comes to mind.  E-mail doesn’t count and nor does blogging.  Hey, my spiritual journey, my rules.  No, the only interaction, and no Catholic Sunday exception, will be to post blogs on the various platforms, nothing else; drop the links and get out of Dodge.

Believe it or not, the two are linked.  From two very different sources, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Dave Ramsey, both used the idiom, ” X is a good servant but is a cruel master.”  In both cases, I’ve found myself eating food and checking social media, more out of a compulsion or boredom than anything else.  It definitely wasn’t out of a need.  I obviously love food and social media, but I’ve been feeling more servant than master lately and that isn’t a good feeling.  Seriously, how much hummus does one person need? And how many checks on Twitter is too many in one day? I don’t know the answer to that one, but it felt like too many recently.

I’m doing some other stuff too; some physical stuff and the Jesuits are doing a cool Lenten practice, ironically enough, via e-mail and a website.  But neither of those brings the excitement or fear that the denial aspect of this year does.  I’ve got a feeling this won’t be the last blog about either of these practices.  I don’t know which withdrawal will be worse, but I’ll be sure to share.

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