Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Do These Things Have in Common?

These are the things I will NOT be giving up for Lent.

Herein lies the humanness of my struggle with the Lenten season. I love the season because it challenges me to either "give up" something that is precious to me or/and "take up" something that I should be devoting more time to. I totally "get" the meaning of it all...the idea that it's a season of sacrifice, so I should really be doing my part.

The problem is that I don't really want to give up the things I really the cupcakes, and the "Lost," and the Mexican food and margaritas, and the college basketball, and the blogging.

It's a struggle; it really is.

My solution--you may call it a "cop out"--is that I've decided to focus this year on "taking something up" instead. I don't really think I have a vice that's too problematic for me, and besides...would giving up chocolate or sweet tea really bring me closer to God? Would I spend the time I'd usually spend on guzzling down that big ole glass of caffeinated sweetness on prayer or meditation (which is really what we're supposed to be doing)? I'm gonna keep it real here and say, probably not.

So, instead...I'm gonna do my best and keep-on-keeping-on when it comes to praying and reading some good spiritual stuff everyday. But I'm gonna add one new wrinkle to the mix. During Lent (the 40 days from now until Easter), I'm gonna try and do one "random act of kindness" sort of activity once a week. Not sure how that will manifest itself in practical ways, but I think it might be good to think in that sort of direction.

(The idea of fasting really appeals to me as well ...but the last time I did it, Gary was rushing to McDonald's at 12:01 AM on Easter Sunday morning to get me a double cheeseburger. So, I'm not sure if the spirituality of that experience quite reached me like it was supposed to. I had fried beef on the brain when I really should have been thinking of my fellow man.)

(By the way, if any of you are interested, here is a really good LINK to an article that describes the Lenten season. It describes things like Ash Wednesday--which was yesterday, and which we celebrated with trying to explain to Sydney what the ash cross on her forehead meant--and Maundy Thursday and other rituals of the season.)

Do any of you celebrate Lent? Did you "go crazy" on Fat Tuesday, or plan on giving anything up for Lent? If you were to give something up, what would it be?


Adrienne said...

HA! I love what you won't be giving up! LOL

This is the first year I've EVER decided to give up anything for Lent. So far so good but I'm only a day in lol.

Cheryl said...

I am like Sydney, you would have to explain Lent to me also. I was not raised in church. When I started learning God's WORD I was a married adult. I have read some things about Lent but not enough to understand it. Hope you don't think I'm crazy!? Have a good week my friend!

Monogram Queen said...

I haven't celebrated Lent in a l-o-n-g time. I have never "went wild" on Fat (Shrove) Tuesday though!

Cheryl Wray said...

Adrienne--You'll have to tell me what you decided to give up. I have always had a hard time "sticking" to what I was giving up...hence, the "taking up" instead. :-)

Cheryl--Lent is really a cool thing. It's part of the Christian year and takes you from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. It is supposed to be a time of penitence and fasting and getting things ready in preparation for Jesus. It started in the Catholic church, but a number of "mainstream" denominations do it too (Presbyterian, Methodist, etc.). I never did it growing up, but I really love it now. Probably my favorite part of the Christian year...more so than Christmas.

Queen--You've never gone wild? Hmmm...LOL

Anonymous said...

Cheryl - I love reading your blog so I'm glad you aren't giving it up for Lent. I, too, love Lent and this time of preparation. I'm taking on -- I know this sounds crazy but I'm going to make sure that I hug my husband every day and say at least one affirming thing to him and I'm giving up criticizing him. We've been married 25 years and have a great marriage but I've noticed that I haven't been doing as good a job as I can!! I'm also spending a little extra time each day in prayer and study. We did have a Mardi Gras party for our Sunday School class on Saturday night at someone's home and we had some great food and decadent desserts - then a church member always brings us (the church staff) lunch on Fat Tuesday with a yummy dessert -- not too WILD!! I love our Ash Wednesday service. It sets the tone for the whole season. They use bare branches on the altar rather than flowers - the music was incredible, the sermon inspiring and then communion and the ashes. Sorry - didn't mean to type a novel!!
Lisa Elliott

Gin said...

I love this post, Cheryl. I also dont know to much about Lent, because we never celebrate it at our church. (Well, we do have a Good Friday service.) I would have to think about what I'd need to give up. It would probably be something like coffee or diet coke. Gosh, that would be hard.

I like your idea of random acts of kindness. Will you keep up updated and tell you what you did? Please. (smile)

Heather said...

Cheryl, I think your idea of taking up instead of giving up is a neat one. I can't wait to hear about your random acts of kindess. Thank you for stopping by my blog!

Linda said...

I like your idea of taking up and not giving up. I myself do not celebrate Lent because (and don't take me wrong), I just think that if you need to give something up to grow closer to God, you shouldnt be doing them in the first place (You know Im a radically spiritual person who doesn't do organized religion....LOL), but I do honor and respect people for their beliefs. the taking up of a beautiful thing is really awesome C. Love this post.

Lynilu said...

Cheryl, I passed an award along to you at:


Cheryl Wray said...

Lisa--I think that is an AWESOME thing to do for Lent (the being affirming and less critical of your husband. I really think that it's these sort of attitude changes that we can work on during Lent. So I LOVE that!!) And nope...I can't give up blogging. It's my main addiction (and, besides, it actually is a spiritual outlet for me some of the time. :-)

Gin--LOL That would be like me giving up Diet Dr. Pepper. I love that stuff! (And I will try and share some of the random acts of kindnesses that I come up with. Right now I'm just trying to think of some possible ideas for it.)

Heather--I love the idea of "taking up" much better!

Linda--I think you're awesome and I am totally with you on so much of the spiritual things. I do love my church, though. :-)

Lynilu--You are SO sweet.Thank you....

Gretchen said...

Cheryl, we're fairly new to the whole Lent idea. But mostly right now, we're just talking about Jesus' sacrifice and how it's not only amazing, it's forever. My son's youth group had an amazing service on Tuesday (our youth grp night). They were told to fast and then came to church where they were assigned family groups with whom to eat. The groups were broken into many different classes of people. Some were very wealthy and had a "restaurant" style of meal, complete with servers, some had spaghetti, some had rice and beans, and others ate out of garbage cans. It was very eye opening for them to look at Christianity on a world scale and to remember that while God loves us Americans, he loves the impoverished, too. And because He loves them, we need to love them.

Love your idea of taking up, btw. :)

hippo chick said...

Hey Cheryl,

Read my post about Ash Wednesday. I, too, am "taking up" something this Lent. So far, it has been a wonderful experience for me.

On the silly side, I told everyone I was giving up liver.

~hippo hugs~

Dishin And Dishes said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! Love this article! I too, am a Lost addict...we must be soul sisters!

sa said...