Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras: A Good Day to Think About Your Lenten Discipline

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day that begins Lent. Will you have a Lenten discipline?

I hadn't really given it much thought until I saw a place on our worship slip that asked if we would have a Lenten discipline and if we wanted supportive e-mails.  I thought, hey, that's a good idea!

Last year I tried to give up worrying, with mixed success.  Some years I've tried to add some enrichment along the lines of nourishing reading or weekly art projects--again, with mixed success.

On Sunday, I sat quietly with the idea of a Lenten discipline to see what might rise to the surface.  Work on your memoir--that's what I heard.
So, my Lenten discipline will be to work on my memoir 3-4 days a week. I thought about pledging every day, but my travel schedule between now and Easter will defeat a daily discipline. But 3-4 times a week is both a challenge and accessible.

When I first thought of it, I thought, that can't be my Lenten discipline. I'm enjoying working on my memoir too much. I think of a Lenten discipline as something grim like giving up a pleasure like chocolate or wine or meat or sugar.

But many of us are good at self-denial. What if we gave ourselves permission to add a pleasure to our lives?  Not just any wanton pleasure, but pleasure followed by gratitude for the pleasure, happiness for the pleasures that we're able to afford.

What if, instead of waiting until we're done with our chores to do what brings us pleasure, what if we devoted ourselves to the pleasurable part of our life first?  The scrubbing and the washing can wait--go ahead and dive into that novel you've been waiting to have time to read!

I do think that a Lenten discipline should be something that strengthens and enriches our spiritual lives.  For more possibilities, you can click on the Launch Into Lent label on the right sidebar and get a host of essays that will give you more options than you can possibly adopt in one 6 week period.  Choose one and devote yourself fully.

Today is a good day to plot a road map.  What, exactly, will you do?  What benchmarks will you use to measure your success?  What supplies do you need?

Maybe today, instead of indulging in the usual Mardi Gras excess that we see advertised, we could take time to ready ourselves for our Lenten journey. 

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