Lent starts this week.
I low-key love the idea of Lent because I like all the things Lent is about less, about giving up, about making space in your life for the things that actually matter. It’s about cutting through the nonsense that so often occupies our minds and focusing on the things that actually matter.
It’s a little bit Puritanical, in the best way.
I don’t come from a background that makes a huge thing of Lent, and growing up, I mainly heard it from my Catholic friends and family as a time of giving specific things up – chocolate or pop or fast food or TV.
I’m not terribly interested in that concept of Lent. It’s weird, for me – the same as obsessively setting SMART goals, it’s a way to get yourself laser-focused on improving your life/spirituality in one very specific way, and often allows us to let everything else fall by the wayside, instead of trying to improve things with a more holistic mindset. You give up pop but spend the whole of Lent craving it, what’s the point?
It’s so tempting to be like “I’m giving up stressing about school for Lent!” but frankly, that’s unrealistic at this point in time – I’m stressed about school all the time, I’m frustrated with my management and the state of my classroom. It feels like I’m working really hard at management, and I’ve only seen marginal improvements. I have my second formal evaluation coming up at some point as well, and that’s huge and scary.
Giving up stress wholeheartedly isn’t an option, but I can work on narrowing my stressors down to the few things that really do matter – focusing on my management and worrying less about larger issues at play in the district, for instance.
Pope Francis had a perspective on Lent that I really appreciated.
Dear friends, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in is word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need.
Not focusing on giving something up so much as readying ourselves for renewal and conversion. Serving Christ in those in need. I can get behind that.
Unrelated: The world really needs a devotional for Nasty Woman that blends empowering scriptures and feminist theory. Someone who knows the Bible better than me, go write this.