Bishop Linda is suggesting that, instead of giving something up for Lent, we take something on for Lent: something such as intentional prayer… making time in our lives for our spiritual side.
How in the world do we do that? Many of us barely make it to church on Sunday. And those that do go to church regularly may think that they are done with that for the week. Maybe it is easier to give up something!
How about giving something up AND taking something on? How about a trade?
- Giving up getting annoyed at the traffic – and thank God that so many people are employed that they need to get to work?
- Giving up fretting about standing in line/waiting in the drive-through lane for coffee –and be thankful that you can afford coffee?
- Giving up frustration at the length of the football/hockey/baseball season – and be thankful that the sports industry not only employs so many people, but inspires young people to greatness?
- Giving up your envy for a better (read “material”) life – and count your blessings?
- Giving up being the perfect wife/mother/housekeeper – and be glad that you have a husband, children and a house?
- Giving up always pushing your children to do better – and praise them for what they do accomplish?
- Giving up dieting – and explore the many fruits and vegetables in the grocery store that you have never tried?
- Giving up fighting aging – and realize that your spouse may have been attracted to your looks as a young and foolish lad, but he has stayed with you because of the beauty he sees inside you as he has grown to be a man?
- Giving up acquiring “things” – and give away the things you have not used to a thrift store?
Or, start doing things that make you happy. Get out of your rut.
- Bake a chocolate cake – and take half (or more!) to a neighbour.
- Go to a movie – and invite a friend who will share your popcorn.
- Take a walk – with the neighbour’s dog.
- Read a good book – and donate it to the library when you are done.
- Wave and say hello to a neighbour as you pull out of your driveway. Make their day.
- Make eye contact with a stranger and smile at them.
Don’t you think that God wants you be happy? To enjoy your life? Isn’t it easier to praise God when you are happy, grateful, thankful?
Turn your thoughts around – look at the bright side instead of the negative one. There will always be a dish to wash – but not every day has fresh snow, sparkling and white making the world look clean. Be thankful if it is only a dusting of snow! If it is more – look at the face of a child contemplating a snow day off school! Think about a cozy fireplace and hot cocoa that comes after clearing the sidewalk. Hey, burn a few calories and enjoy the treat. Do you remember enveloping yourself around a warm furnace vent when you were a kid? Push the cat aside! You deserve it.
God is in your life when you give back, when you do something nice for someone, when you appreciate His gifts to you. Your prayers may be momentary but heartfelt. Work to send micro-prayers more often and throughout the day. Take on the challenge. Try it for Lent. Try if for life.
Bonnie G. Rees, President
ACW Diocesan Council