Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Alright, Lent, Help Me Out

The egg timer thing didn't work. Mainly because it required me to remember to use it.
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by  Bryan Lee O'Malley
I allowed myself to splurge and indulge a bit as I prepared myself for Lent. I still had no clue what I was going to do for the Lenten season, but I knew I had to figure something out, and wanted to take on as much pleasure in the meantime. Before giving something up.

First of all, Lent is supposed to be a time of fasting and sacrifice; giving something that you love up so you not only have greater appreciation for it, but you now have more space to bring God into your life and heart. You are supposed to give up a vice; a worldly pleasure that you use to fill the void you should be filling with your relationship with God. Vices are distractions, and the forty days before Easter are supposed to be the time you give up those distractions as a means of healing your spirituality and your soul before one of the holiest days in Christian faith.

Lent is a way for you to improve and better yourself; make yourself a "better Christian." A better person.

For me, though, Lent isn't purely about sacrificing a vice. It is first, and foremost, about improving myself while also improving my relationship with God. A time - outside my November daily thankfulness reflection - for me to feel a divine force around me, directing me, comforting me, and blessing me; even with small blessings.

I know, I'm getting super religious right now, give me another minute, I promise.

For me, Lent wasn't just about giving something up. It was finding something that will improve me. If that means I ADD to my life instead of subtracting - things such as donating or volunteering - that is what I'll do.

Since I'm still trying to figure out my off-hours life, I decided adding-on wasn't the way to go. I also don't like completely removing something, because inevitability, I slip and feel guilty about breaking my Lenten fast. So, I generally cut back to bare-bones. Just enough to still get the pleasure, and then appreciate it because of how small it is.

In this regard, I'm going to move away from my latest Time Suck. A few years back I dropped my Facebook time to an hour or two. Yes, there are still days I over-indulge, but ever since that Lenten season Facebook isn't the hole it used to be for me. Now though? It's watching anything. Hubby and I will just mindlessly watch whatever's on TV, even if we're not terribly interested in it. Or we'll binge watch Netflix until I wonder what happened to my week. Lately, I've also added in Cracked, Watch Mojo, Screen Rant, or WhatCulture YouTube channels to my binge-watching Time Suck.

So that's what I'm "giving up" for Lent. I still want to have some downtime with the Hubby, and Tuesdays I have two back-to-back prime time shows we like to watch. Then there's the occasional Conan that we watch all the way through if we like the guests he has on. So, instead of giving up TV completely, and forcing Hubby to do the same so he won't feel guilty about watching episodes I won't be able to until reruns or the show's on Netflix, I'm cutting down to two hours daily. It still feels like a LOT of time, but considering the fact that we seem to almost exclusively watch hour-long shows, it just means two episodes. Sadly, that's not much when compared to the binging I've been doing lately.

Two hours of my day, at max, will be taken up by the TV, Netflix, or YouTube. The rest of the time I'll be at work, cleaning my home, reading, and - GASP - WRITING!

The extra free time I will get by not sitting in front of the TV mindlessly for hours on end should be used to reflect on God and the sacrifice Jesus gave himself up for. I will use some of the time to reflect, I'm sure, but at the same time, I'll increase my spirituality also by using that time to write.

I feel blessed whenever I find those minutes to put pen to paper. I feel blessed whenever inspiration strikes. I feel even more blessed when I have control of the muse and don't have to wait for the lightning. I feel blessed whenever I come up with a phrase or description that my writing group praises me for. I feel blessed whenever I notice that my story was favorited on DeviantArt. I feel blessed when I get a message on Facebook telling me that my writing was read and enjoyed.

Sadly, I don't use Lent as I "should," as a means to better connect to God and reflect on what Easter truly means. However, I do use it to try to better myself, as well as reflect on how blessed I truly am. I focus on not taking anything for granted. I focus on slowing things down so I can better appreciate what is in my life. I feel like, in turn, that helps me become a better person, a better Christian, and helps me reconnect with my spirituality.

I always set up four "resets" in each year: New Years Resolutions, Lunar/Chinese New Year, my birthday, and Lent. Here's hoping I do well enough with refocusing myself during Lent that I won't have to do another reset on my birthday this year.

While I'm resetting myself and attempting to write more than twice a week, feel free to read another edited writing prompt from the beginning of the month:


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