Tuesday, March 10

Lenten Adjustments

So in the spirit of my new found appreciation of Lenten disciplines, I decided to overexert myself this year. I chose 3 different concessions to help me remember God's love for me. Each has brought its own challenges and adjustments. I chose the number 3 for the very obvious reasons, although I am not sure that I fully understood my reasons for choosing the 3 things. I had hoped to say that I gave up one for each member of the Trinity. Figuring out which one belonged to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost was not something I did until I sat down to write this post.

My first thought when I began to choose my "give ups" was that I needed to do something for the environment like I did last year (see last post). I am a very self righteous environmentalist. I think that everyone should care about the planet as much as I do, although I don't do nearly as much as I should. I know that being self righteous is not a good thing, so this year I thought I would do something that was more private and not something that would affect my day to day operations. So this year I decided to remove one light bulb (they are already energy efficient bulbs) from each room in my house to cut down on the energy I use. I took out a light bulb from a light that I use often, so that I would have to think about which lights I could turn on when I walked in to a room. Our house is very dark to begin with, so this has proved to be something that has really worked for keeping me present. It is by far the easiest of the disciplines I chose. I don't really have to think about it, it is just there. Like a fact of life. I feel this way about the Holy Spirit. I don't pay much attention to the Holy Spirit usually. It is always there and I am always aware of its presence, but it isn't something I pray to or talk to. It is my six sense. It is as much a part of who I am as each breathe I take.

My second give up was in honor of Jesus. I gave up eating meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. I picked these days in honor of Ash Wednesday (my favorite day in the church year) and my Catholic appreciation of confession (Traditionally, Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays). I have since found out that the 2 days I chose are very Anglo-Catholic in nature which I find kind of funny. I am sure it was the Holy Spirit leading me to those days, but like I stated before, I didn't even notice it at the time. I decided that giving up meat was a good way to remind myself of the fast and sacrifice that Jesus made for me. I make lists of the meals I will eat for every day of the week on Sundays. Patrick and I started doing this to save money on our grocery bills. Every Sunday, and every day I look at my list, I am reminded of not eating meat and remember Jesus. I have never been much of a meat eater, but Patrick is, so I have had to really try to cook things that will satiate both Pat and me. It has been harder than I thought it would be.

My last, and only actual EVERY DAY reminder, was to stop cussing. I have a mouth like a sailor. I blame it on having the last name of Woody. Kids, especially after Beavis & Butthead, loved to make fun of my last name. I was teased and tormented over that name. I learned to make the joke first and learned to be quite crass in the way I spoke. It has never bothered me, but recently I went to stay with a friend of mine who did not allow cussing in her house. I had always thought my potty mouth was something I could easily control, but I learned that weekend that it was not. I thought that giving this up would be a great way to learn to use my words to glorify God instead of offending the people around me. I have never considered cussing a sin, but it is not a nice thing to do in all types of company. This has been the hardest to do by far!!! It is most difficult when I am driving in Atlanta traffic. I have such bad road rage. People drive like idiots around here. I also have trouble keeping it in check when I am around Patrick. He also cusses a lot, so I tend to do it too. Every time I cuss, I pray for forgiveness from God and ask Him to give me the strength to think before the next time I allow cuss words to leave my lips.

Lent is a time of fasting and penance. I have tried to chose things for myself that remind me every day of those 2 things, and also of the sacrifice laid out for me on the cross. No matter what I must bare in this life, it will never compare to the suffering of Jesus. What makes you closer to God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit?

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