- I used to listen to a lot of music in the car. One year, I gave up listening to anything while traveling. It led to more prayer time (we lived at least a half hour from everything at the time), more thinking time, and to being much more selective when I added some noise back into my travel time.
- I used to own/wear a fair number of accessories. One year, I gave up wearing earrings. Doing so helped me focus on my vanity; it enlightened me regarding how much I thought about such things. (Caveat: I am not saying you are vain if you wear earrings, etc., etc. You may wear a tiara if you like. You know what I mean. This is my blog, so I get to talk all about me, me, me. This was about what I needed to do, not what I think anyone else should do.) It was freeing to let go of thinking about what matched, what complemented, what added a finishing touch. After that Lent, I went back to wearing earrings, and I do wear a crucifix necklace, but I have to say I'm happy to be free of a revolving collection of bracelets, necklaces, and rings.
- Last year it was coffee. Truly, God can and does work modern day miracles.
- I used to complain a lot. (Oops. I still complain a lot.) One year I gave up complaining. Every time I began to lapse into Complaint Mode, I instead prayed, "Lord, help me to serve without counting the cost." Huge eye-opener. Huge. There are so many things to complain about in a day, aren't there? And it can be so much fun to complain about them. And to feel sorry for myself. And to zero in on everything that is wrong, rather than the many things that are right. But instead of complaining, it's tremendously fruitful to give thanks for everything, even when those puny thank-yous sound feeble.
On this dreary, overcast Fat Tuesday, as I mull over gifts Lent has poured out on me in the past, and I wonder what undeserved grace Jesus has in store for me this time, I know that (although this is one of those years in which I've been wishing Lent would go away, as opposed to the years when I'm at fighting weight, and enter the Lenten ring swinging) I am grateful for penance and mortification, for tiny acts that humble me, for the reminder that God is God. I thank Him for the chance to work again toward my only real earthly goal: to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.
by G.K. Chesterton
Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?