Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Lent

Today is the first day of Lent for the year of 2012.

Up until a few years ago, I had no idea what Lent was. Honestly, the only way I found out was by working at a Longhorn Steak house. My training began right around Lent and my trainer had mentioned that it might be slow on Friday nights for a while because of Lent. When I looked at him funny, he said, "You do know what Lent is, right?" My response was (and really, I'm embarrassed about it to this day), "That Jewish holiday?" Um... Yeah... Super stupid. Anyway... Lent is usually a Catholic practice where they give up something as a form of penitence. Most Catholics will do various means of "sacrifice" including not eating red meat on Fridays. Hence the slow Friday dinner shift at a steakhouse.

I'm not a Catholic but I like the "idea" of Lent. I like the idea of giving up something that will help me focus more on God and Christ and the sacrifice that HE made on the cross. I think I've said in the past that I was going to give certain things up for the duration of Lent but never stuck to it. This year, however, I was thinking about something that I could realistically give up in order to focus my attention more on Christ and less on self. Coffee? Heck no! Facebook? I probably wouldn't stick to it. Candy? I don't eat enough of it for it to be a sacrifice. I thought and thought and thought. And then I realized what it was that I needed to give up.

For years and years, I've let negative thinking control my actions and my life. I've allowed it to ruin relationships, my self esteem and ultimately lead me to destructive, sometimes suicidal, behavior. It's a real problem I have. More often than not, my negative thinking has put distance between me and God. I hold on to negative ideas and emotions and fears so tightly, many times being very aware of what I'm doing. Even earlier this week, while texting my mom, I was allowing a negative situation eat me up and control my words and thoughts. My mom's response (so thankful that I can depend on her for wisdom and to put me in my place) was that I was letting Satan get hold of me. So very true. So very painfully true.

I decided to give up negativity for Lent in hopes to bring me closer to God and ultimately, allow God to work in me in ways that change my life forever. It may seem like an odd thing since Lent is usually meant for a vice or for fasting in some way. But I've decided to make it a real thing for my own life. I've also decided that as a way to hold me accountable, that I would share my "lenting journey" here. Where people could either support or judge (since I know that some will) but where I will find guidance and assistance through some of the godly women who so graciously read my blog.

Me giving up negativity is huge. It is something horrid in my life that so often determines my actions and my words and my attitude. Not only is it bad for ME but it's bad for my family as well. Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her own hands." For starters, I'm tired of being a fool. Second, I am so acutely aware that my attitude many times drives the attitude of my family members. Every one in the house could be in a great mood but if I'm not, and I make it known through my demeanor, it spreads like wild fire and soon, the whole house is in angry chaos. When I'm negative, my husband tends to be more negative. When I am impatient and snappy, my children tend to be as well. When I'm depressed, the whole house is in a funk. Me giving up (or doing my very best to) negative thinking is going to be a long process but it's one that I'm determined to attempt.

I'll be turning this into a "mini series". From now until Easter, during Lent, on Wednesdays at least (probably more frequently since this is something I feel that God is really working in me), I will be sharing what I'm learning in an attempt to leave behind my negative thinking and pursue a positive life.

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