I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks prepping. Not for the end of the world, but for the end of a bit of comfort. Lent will be here in a few days and I’ve set myself a few challenges this year.
There are the regular things I’ll be doing – trying my best to go meatless on the right days, praying, almsgiving, etc. I have some things to do with the kids that may or may not be a success, but the rest is going to be a bit of a challenge.
The last few years I’ve been surprised by my own wants and my lack of discipline when it comes to petty little things – the food budget, the incidentals, eating out for lunch, etc. Nothing really bad, but it all adds up in a way that makes it clear I could be doing more. There are a number of things that I’m used to being comfortable if not indulged in in my life and I want to use this time to challenge myself to break from those things.
The why is for a number of reasons – health, self-discipline, budgeting, etc. and none of that seems to bring me closer to God on the outside, but it all ties into little things that lead back to him. If my health is not in good order then I am not caring for the temple my body is supposed to be. If I am constantly straining our budget with little and indulgent things then it is harder to give and make room if our family ever grows again. If I am not disciplined how can I really make time for prayer, study and other forms of ministry?
I’ve seen people bemoaning others for doing too much or being too showy or (they assume) focusing too much on the outer for Lent, but I think we can assume a little better. Those people using Lent to make health changes might not be doing it to be slimmer, but because (like me) they realize they’ve been neglecting a gift from God. The people challenging themselves to read a stack of books might not be trying to show off their knowledge, but are desperately trying to fill a hole God has pointed out to them. There are so many ways all these things can be much deeper than they appear.
So I’ve been checking our stores and trying to get as much of my shopping done before Lent begins so I can limit my time online and in stores. I’ve been making lists of recipes so I can try to focus on simpler, but healthy fare. I’ve been purging blogs and groups from my social media to help me focus my time and energy. Just a whole lot of prepping, and who knows what will come of it all.