When we were children growing up in India, there were very few Christians we knew (they are less than 1% of the population) but Lent was a biggie. We'd always ask each other what we were giving up. In my circle of friends it ranged from giving up meat (but we were vegetarian so it didn't matter to me) to being nice to a younger sibling, or helping more with chores, etc. I remember feeling indignant because what's there to give up when you're already not eating well and have too many chores? I remember fasting on Fridays along with my mother. She didn't want us to because we were stick-thin and our usual meal was a thin lentil soup with rice. To this day, I make my lentil soup thin because that's the way I like it. In Indian restaurants, I find the soup too rich. But I digress.
I remember how hard it was. My stomach was noisy and if someone offered me a sandwich or chapati, I ate it. And I would be ashamed because the Muslim girls would fast from sun-up to sun-down during Ramadan and wouldn't even take a sip of water. I admired them, but was never able to hold out like they did. I prayed that God would make me strong. He did.
I tell you this because for Lent, I need to be strong again. I want to give up one of my excesses -- spending too much time on the net, blogging and reading other people's blogs, visiting the Blueboard, and reading newsy bits. It will be hard for me because I enjoy it far too much. Like fasting, this is an exercise in discipline. I see so many areas in my life I need to improve, but I can start with this one thing. I can imagine spending that lost hour (those 10 minute chunks add up) praying, reading, writing, visiting a sick friend, or finishing a project with my kids.
So, know that I will miss you all, that I may even fail miserably. I hope you will encourage and help me if I do. I will not be ashamed like I was as a child, but forgive myself and begin anew with greater resolve. I will take it one day at a time. I have another day of excess -- Mardi Gras, which translates to Fat Tuesday. When we were living in Europe, it was a huge celebration, but I didn't see anyone penitent the day after. Strange. But I digress again. See what I mean about this busy brain of mine. In any case, come Ash Wednesday, I'll retreat and be quiet. I know from experience that God tends to whisper when my mind is still.
I'll leave you with this:
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10).
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.