As you may remember, last year was the first time I successfully completed Lent. Although it wasn’t a spiritual goal of mine last year, it has now become an annual spiritual goal going forward. (Although you wouldn’t know it since I left it off my list of goals for 2010 and 2009, d’oh!)
For those who don’t know, Lent is the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter where Christians often sacrifice something important to them as a means of self-denial.
Just in case you’re interested: Personally, I prefer my religion buffet-style. I was raised Methodist, but the more I read about other religions, the more my fascination grows, and so I add a little bit of this and a pinch of that to my own dogma.
Now back to Lent. As I said, up until last year, I had never successfully completed Lent. So what made last year different? How is that I was able to give up two things I absolutely love: meat and red wine?
Why was I making the choice to participate in Lent?
I wanted to complete the Lent season because I thought the purpose behind it was noble. I knew that although it would pain me to give up the things I loved, when I was able to have them again, they would taste even better than I remembered.
Going through the sacrifice of Lent would give me a renewed appreciation I could not have attained otherwise. (Unless I were to be a victim of a natural disaster or some other unusual catastrophe.)
Once I had my “why” for doing Lent, the self-discipline came much more easily than being told to do it “just because that’s what we do.”
Going through the Lent process builds several essential characteristics necessary to help you achieve any goal:
This year, I’m taking my Lent sacrifice one step-further: I’m giving up all alcohol.
It’s definitely going to be a challenge. (I honestly can’t remember the last time I went 40 days without a drop of alcohol – probably sometime before the age of 21.) But I know why I’m doing it, I know I’m disciplined enough for it, and I know I will receive help and support from my friends and family when I need it.
And I know how amazing that first glass of wine will taste when I can have it again!
Are you participating in Lent? What are you giving up?
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