Woo HOO! Lent!

Is it weird to be excited about Lent?

This is the first year in my life I’m observing Lenten season. I’ll be 40 at the end of this month, so for 39 years I’ve been blissfully & ignorantly unaware of the benefit of a penitential season.

My friends without faith may find penitence to be a useless exercise prescribed by a litigious God. If you’ve grown up with unrelenting self doubt, survivor guilt, victim guilt, & low self worth, limiting your reflection & restriction to 40 days is somewhat freeing. Instead of serving a sentence limited only by your own limitless self loathing, 40 days with a giant pardon at the end granted by the death & resurrection of your Saviour is like BOOYAH!

Concentrating your reflection is also useful. When studying treatment modalities in a heavily behaviour-focused psychology program, you spend a lot of time talking about goal-oriented therapy. You also mock the indulgent rambling of psychoanalysis (for both the client in the starring role as the constant victim in their own life & the therapist collecting the cash). You can & should teach healing mechanisms to your clients & you should measure their progress within a limited time frame, just as you would a client at the gym or a patient healing from a physical disease. This has the benefit of giving the client self sufficiency as well as simultaneously evaluating the efficacy of the therapist & their methods.

And just like a personal trainer’s client, a therapist can only expect success if the client is ready to genuinely change.

Lent gives us the opportunity to figure out if we are ready to change. When we reach the end of the season & we find ourselves enjoying smaller, simpler meals & committing to an act of faith, we can ask ourselves “Have my priorities changed? Am I happier with simpler needs? Am I over being distracted by trappings & cravings?” If you’re not, you can try again next year (if not before).

By giving up my slavery to food & sloth (& all the reasons I became their bitch, including some valid medical ones that Lenten fasting rules do allow us to address), I hope to find an inner strength & a clarity. Jesus is hella awesome at showing us that stuff.

I know I’m supposed to be solemn & shit, but I’m kind of stoked.

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2 thoughts on “Woo HOO! Lent!

  1. sarahiz says:

    I love this. It makes all kinds of sense to me.

    My own perspective on Lent has been changing over the past few years; the fasting has always proven beneficial, but I grew up feeling responsible for everyone around me and trying to be good for God, so 40 *additional* days of focused penance (when I was constantly scrutinizing myself anyway) often has felt a) unnecessary and b) a well of Church-sanctioned condemnation.

    But a few years ago, I started seeing it as an opportunity to see clearly not only sin, but also what is in me that God loves, all the good I’m often blind to.

    And then last year, it became about how salvation and forgiveness are always present to me, how I don’t have to earn them, and how I didn’t have to wait for a pat on the head to know that I was loved.

    And this year… I think I’m actually going to go to Confession. Because I’m ready to deal with guilt as it’s meant to behave, finally.

    So I’m kind of stoked this year, too! 🙂

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