Sunday, March 29, 2015

I Didn't Give up Chocolate for Lent

Lent has come to a close. We are now into Holy Week. As Catholics, most of us are reflecting on the Passion and death of Jesus and are looking forward to His glory at Easter. And if we're really honest, we'd admit that there's a part of us that's looking forward to the more trivial things: flowers in church again, meat on Friday, an end to fasting, etc. Come on, you know it's true.

Another thing that we think about as we get closer to the end of Lent is whether our Lenten sacrifices really did make us better people. Maybe giving up the soda, chocolate, sweets or Facebook really did help us. Maybe it did help us to develop a sacrificial spirit or to spend more time in prayer. This year I didn't give up chocolate. I didn't give up sweets. I didn't give up Facebook or desserts or soda (wait,, I don't drink soda anyway). I didn't give up anything tangible.

Insert Disclaimer Here: This is not in anyway making light of or putting down people who gave up any of the aforementioned items.

Good. Now that we got that out of the way, here's what I did give up: Worry. I gave up worrying for Lent. For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm a major worry-wart. I worry way too much. So this Lent, I decided to give up worrying. My great-grandmother used to say that you can't worry and pray at the same time. Her philosophy was that if you're worrying you're not praying, and if you're praying then you shouldn't worry. It might sound a little simplistic but it's largely true. When we worry, we are not trusting God to take care of our circumstances. One of my favorite saints is St Teresa of Avila. She once said 'Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. Patience obtains all things. God alone suffices.' I had that quote on my bedroom wall for a number of years and I finally decided to put it into practice.

Now I'm going to be honest. I didn't suddenly become some totally zen, placid, unruffled individual. I slipped up. But I'm a lot less of a worry-wart than I was when Lent started. Instead of worrying, I'd pray. In situations where I would usually have worried, I forced myself to stop and pray and ask God to help me trust Him instead. And it's been wonderful. Even Mr Caramel (as one of my friends dubbed him) has noticed a difference. I didn't realize how much my worrying was noticeable. When Mr Caramel mentioned that he noticed that I was worrying less, it made me think. It made me think that I didn't ever want my incessant worry to affect our marriage. I didn't want to pass on my worrying habits to any children that we may one day have.

This is not to say that I didn't have many opportunities to worry. More popped up than usual. For example, Mr Caramel's car decided that it needed repairs - over $1000 worth of repairs. Instead of worrying, I trusted God. Thankfully, our tax refund came through and helped to pay for that. Yes, we needed the tax refund money for something else that we are desperately saving for, but I'm trusting that we'll get the funds we need. There were so many instance this Lent where I think it would have been understandable for me to worry, but I chose to pray instead. And I feel more at peace now.

So now that Easter is around the corner, people will be returning to their sweets, Facebook, Twitter, alcoholic beverages. But I will not be returning to my worry. I gave it up for Lent and I do not intend to fall back into that bad habit.

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