Monday, March 11, 2013

Lent 2013

Today is the first day of Lent (or rather, it was when I first started this post).  I never observed (celebrated?) Lent growing up, so this has been a new idea to me as an adult.  I'm not even sure what the whole entire thing is about, other than people usually give up something for the 40-ish days until Easter.  And you're usually trying to pick something that is a challenge because it's supposed to be a sacrifice.

Now, I've been thinking about what I could sacrifice.  I could give up one of the usual things: caffeine, chocolate, soda, fried foods, etc. and all those would be a sacrifice, but I'm thinking I might go for something more fundamental, which would definitely be a challenge, but I'm not sure it would count as a "sacrifice".

The idea I had on my way to work is that I could give up worrying for Lent.  I've been trying to develop/foster/have a closer relationship with God lately and I think that consciously not worrying would be beneficial to that.  I want to trust God and worrying certainly shows that I don't trust with all my heart.

I'm reminded of the blurb in Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Workweek where he mentions that a vast majority of the things we worry about either are (a) out of our control or (b) never happen.  But they consume a lot of our mental energy. This could help free up my mind quite a bit, if I can be successful.

Now, how to actually stop worrying is another topic, but I think that's what I'm going to have to figure out!

Update as of 3/11/13:
Here's what I've been doing:  When I catch myself starting to worry about something, I make myself stop and just start thinking about something else that is unrelated to the the worry topic.

The result?  I've been much happier and less negative since the beginning of Lent.  At least I feel like I have been.  It's been pretty great actually.  I have a lot of self-doubt about almost everything in my life and this has really helped me not dwell on it because mostly, it's ALL IN MY HEAD.  My crazy, crazy head.  I'll update again closer to Easter about this.

1 comment:

Seth Jaffee said...

Giving up something for Lent sounds to me like a New Years Resolution, only you're probably a lot more likely to succeed, for 2 reasons...

1. It's a limited period of time. Anyone can stick to their NYR guns for 40 days, it's sticking to them all year (or ideally, forever) that's so overwhelming most people give up. This really only applies to things like "giving up caffeine" rather than a resolution with a specific end point, like "quit my job."

2. God is watching! Of course, if you believe in that type of thing then you must believe that God is ALWAYS watching, and so this would apply to your NYR's as well... but since this is FOR LENT then OBVIOUSLY it's a bigger deal to God. After all, God didn't tell you you had to make those NYR's, so maybe he (or she!) doesn't care as much about those as the Lent stuff.

Anyway, making a sacrifice by not doing something you shouldn't be doing anyway is a good idea no matter what the reason. I think that's the crux of most of religion - it's like stuff that's probably a good idea anyway, so let's tell people God will be disappointed if you don't do it - for a little added incentive. Maybe that makes it easier to, you know, not covet they neighbor's wife (or husband!), or murder people.

On the subject of worrying, I have been doing a similar thing lately. Not to do with God or Lent of course, but I found myself being constantly irritated by crap that quite frankly I didn't need to concern myself with, and somewhere along the line I decided that I had enough irritants in my life already, no need to invite in more. So much like you said, when I catch myself worrying about some crap that doesn't matter, I try to stop by reminding myself (often aloud) "It's not my problem!"

I don't know if I'm any happier overall, but I guess in those moments I do feel a bit better.

So keep it up! And here's to a happier you!