Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent for all of you heathens.
(I kid, I don’t really think you’re a heathen)
You guys…Lent is not fun. Is that a bad thing to say? I don’t know if that is or not, but I do know that it’s the truth. Growing up, we were strongly encouraged to give up something that we loved or that meant a lot to us during Lent. A time to focus on prayer and others instead of being selfish. Wanna know what I gave up a lot? Candy. Those suckers, I didn’t even really like candy!!
I skipped a few years of Lent in college and early motherhood because, dude, nobody has time for Lent. But then as I got into the swing of things as far as being super busy and being a mom and as this horrible thing that is anxiety crept into my life, I realized that Lent is actually a really good time for me to take some deep breaths and realize what’s important to me. And really, everyone has time for it.
That sounds like a really canned response to what Lent is and why it’s important…but it’s true. I’ve been really struggling lately. Things are especially hard and relationships seem more difficult in my head than they are in real life and it’s making life difficult. But today I’m allowing myself to start fresh. I’m going to focus my energy on things and goals that will benefit my inner self and my relationships, too.
Are you ready for this?
Let me break this list down for you:
1) the makeup thing. I am self conscious about my skin, my appearance, etc. I think the majority of us are, right? I know every little blemish on my face (and there are more than just a few!) and they stand out to me like crazy in the mirror. I’m going to make things easier on myself and try to accept myself exactly how I am. Blemishes and all. No makeup. No foundation, no powder, no mascara, no lipstick. I’m going to use lip gloss, but c’mon, that’s hardly makeup. This is going to take a lot of patience on my part because I will hate at first going out naked. But I think it’ll be really good for me. I’m more than what people see on the outside.
2) no taco time. I really enjoy veggie salads and stuffed fries from Taco Time. Add a side of ranch and I am a happy camper. This is just a selfish thing I’m going to be giving up. There’s no deep meaning in this one.
3) texting. I will make a very conscious effort to check in with random people. Basically, I need to reach out to people more often. Not to make plans, not to ask favors, not to make myself feel better, but because sometimes people need it. And if a simple text can help someone’s day, then it’s silly not to do it.
4) spending more time with my kids. I’m with them alllllll the time. But not really. I always have my phone with me. I’m always reading my new emails, checking in on instagram and texting my pals. Very rarely do they have my UNDIVIDED attention and that’s something I need to work on a lot more. They deserve it and so do I.
5) Because, like my mom always says, “You’ll never be embarrassed for using appropriate language.” Oh, mom.
Lent is not fun, but it’s important. I think it’s important to take a really good look at who you are, what is important to you, and how many of those things that are important to you are also selfish and completely for show. I have a lot of those things. And they aren’t all bad, believe me. I think it’s important to be selfish sometimes. Making yourself happy is important and it can make you a better mom, a better friend, and a better spouse. But sometimes if you have too much of that in your life, you become obsessed (and fat, and a potty mouth apparently in my life) with it all and that’s not good.
So this Lent…I’ll try a little harder to devote time to prayer. I’m not a ‘kneel by my bed, fold my hands, or close my eyes’ and pray type of girl. To be honest, I’m not sure if my ‘type’ of prayer is technically prayer at all. But I pray through actions and good wishes and thoughts for others. I pray through helping others and hoping for the best for them. And I think maybe God can interpret all that.