Tomorrow begins the season of Lent, a tough but also wonderful time of year. When you're a kid you are taught to give something up for Lent and most of us go through the list: sweets, pop, TV. But when you're an adult you learn more that you shouldn't be sacrificing things for sacrifice's sake, it should be something that increases your spiritual well-being and brings you closer to God.
Sometime just before Lent 2013 I read something on the internet (I wish I could remember where and what!) that talked about Lenten sacrifice. I truly remember nothing about the article other than one of the things it suggested was giving up the snooze button. WOW! I would have never thought of that. I am really a slave to the snooze button myself. I am usually on time for every single thing, but I always feel like I'm running late for work in the mornings. Last year I gave up the snooze button, and man, let me tell you, it was HARD. I feel like I really am a slave to that snooze button - "just five more minutes" - and getting up as soon as the alarm goes off definitely assists in learning to be more self-disciplined.
I am going to do it again this year. Starting tomorrow, when that alarm goes off at 6:50 a.m. I'm outta bed like a shot. (Well, actually, tomorrow will be 6:30 a.m. as I hope to make it to the 7:30 a.m. Ash Wednesday mass, but most days will be 6:50.) Shew. Just thinking about it worries me. I don't know why, but it is so HARD. I'm hoping to use these extra 10-15 minutes I will now have to pray a little more seriously in the morning than just a rushed GodhelpmegetthroughthisdayI'mexhausted that I whip out while showering.
Along with giving up the snooze button, I have also decided that I want to focus on not catastrophizing everything. (Isn't that a great word?) I have a tendency to focus on the worst-case scenario of anything I'm worried about. Also when something goes wrong on any given day (I have a bad day at school) I tend to catastrophize the rest of my life (I'm a horrible student, I should never go back to school, I'll hate it, etc.) I feel like this is something I need to quit doing, but really importantly I really need to do it NOW as my big comprehensive exam (the test that determines if I'll get my Master's or not) is this April. I've had hard-core anxiety about it since January (well, really, since I started the program almost four years ago) and I seriously cannot handle this high of a level of anxiety for the next two months. I just can't.
As far as my direct spiritual growth, I'm hoping to continue to read one of my Jesus Today devotionals every night. In addition, my favorite priest Father Jim sent me a great book on Lenten reflections. Both the devotional and reflections are short, which makes them manageable and not overwhelming.
Also -- look what came just in time for Lent?
Yay! I have a great devotion to Venerable Fulton Sheen and am so glad to have these prayers.
I know these sound like little steps, and they are, but I think it's really important for me personally not to make grand plans for Lent (like I'm going to read three chapters of the Bible every night and attend Adoration three times a week) because I'm setting myself up to feel like a major failure, and Lent is really not about me.
I hope you all have a really blessed and fruitful Lenten season! Also, fish dinner Friday -- woot! It's also known as "Anna'a favorite part of Lent." :) Let's be real.