Last year, I decided to give up something for Lent. Easter is my favorite holiday, but the church I grew up in really didn’t “do” Lent, so though I’d been familiar with it from a distance, I’d never actually participated in this tradition leading up to the Easter holiday.
I did a little research and decided I would give up worry last year. A little non-traditional from what I was used to hearing people say they would be giving up, but it seemed like it would work.
Worry is a common but destructive habit that I’ve picked up in adult-hood. I can keep my alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate in fairly decent moderation (most of the time), but worry – I’ve known myself to binge on it morning through evening. I’ve let it devour whole days. Whole years, really.
And so Lent last year was my first step in truly acknowledging that it’s not okay to do that – to sacrifice days and years to worry. Worry is not an okay thing to constantly engage in. It’s not wise and it’s a waste of time and energy. And most of all, it creates this barrier to my faith. It’s a stumbling block that I’ve turned into a fortress separating me from the peace and power of God.
All of this brings me to a truth that I don’t want to admit – I struggle to trust God to be good, to love me, to keep his promises, to be kind, to be gentle, to be my hope. Heaps and mounds of my own earthly experiences and the stories of others swim around in my heart and through the filter of my humanity and I judge the divine as untrustworthy because I can’t make it all add up, because I can’t manipulate it or control it or replicate it or fully understand it. I let my inadequacies be a measuring stick against the immeasurable and no, nothing adds up. Nothing adds up at all.
And so, I have to choose, how then do I want to live? I don’t want to live consumed with worry. I’m not designed to live a worried life.
The constant reminder last year during Lent that I wasn’t to be engaging in worry was a great step in breaking the habit. It regularly made me acknowledge that worry was a vice, an ugly habit, not a necessity. It also caused me to seek out other ways to focus my energy.
This year, I’m looking forward to do it again. And this time, I want to blog my way through it. Every Wednesday, I want to share resources and updates as an act of accountability and as an offering to anyone else who is struggling with the same thing.
For me, this feels like the start of my year! Such promise lies in leaning in towards love and redemption and new life.
Here are some resources I plan to use this week (all free!):
Pen and paper to journal
She Reads Truth Lent Devotion (I am using this in the app but on the site is free)
This Lent idea list from Rachel Held Evans
This liturgy from The Liturgists (I purchased the song part of the liturgy because I love it so much, but you can see the video below for free)
What about you? If you participate in Lent activities, what are you doing this year?