We've reached the halfway point in our Lenten journey now. How's it going? In bouncing around the blogosphere, I've read several bloggers' Lenten resolutions and a few re-resolutions as things didn't go so well or focus changed. I think it's awesome to be in such great company of people trying to grow closer to God and to tweak some of the negative things in their life to become more like the people God wants us to be. I realized that even though I had good intentions to do so, I never let my readers in on my Lenten plans. Now is as good of time as any to talk a little bit about the areas I focused in on and how I'm doing with those.
Usually the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Lenten observances is the "giving up" part. That's really only one of three ways that someone might commit themselves. It's the fasting and abstinence part. In choosing to discontinue a behavior that is bad for us or to give up something that may be good for us, we can increase our self-control and dependence on the Lord by not partaking in it. I chose to give up alcohol during this season. One of my friend Stefanie's favorite quotes from me is "alcohol is a pretty big part of my life." No, there's not a problem here or anything, don't worry please. It just seems like in all the good times my family, friends and I have alcohol present and enjoy it. I wanted to focus the joy of my life more on God an less on a party or relaxation that depends, at least in part, on alcohol. I've done very well so far! One beer only, and that was last Sunday. Sundays are usually exempt from sacrifices. My first temptation will probably be tonight though. Brian and I are going to an ice house to hear some Americana music. I think I'll feel a little funny with water in hand, but it's definitely for the best.
The second way to observe Lent is through prayer and the sacraments. It was important for me to go to confession at some point during Lent and I did go last week. The freedom that comes from that sacrament is indescribable! I love it and had stayed away for too long this time! Also, Brian and I committed to praying together as a couple daily. We recognize the benefits that come to us when we do set aside time to pray together and not just alone, but neither one of us grew up with a lot of family prayer beside grace before meals and it can be a bit of an awkward practice to get into for us. We haven't done it every day like we had hoped to, but we have increased which I'm very glad about.
The third commitment is to service and alms giving. I chose to focus my service very locally, in my own home. I'm not a natural housekeeper and have to make quite an effort to keep up with cleaning and tidying up. I do think it's an excellent way to serve my home and my husband though and I've been trying really hard. I started using the FlyLady system and that's really made such a great difference. It goes in such little steps and she is very nurturing and encouraging which helps me a lot. I love it when I can look around my house and feel pride in my work! Life runs so much smoother when everything is put away and neat. I really hope I can keep it up.
I'd love to hear what you decided to do and what fruit it's bearing in your life! Of course, if you don't practice Lent, maybe this Spring brings a time of renewal anyway and you might think of a way you can resolve to improve your living, you know, if you want.