… or did I?
Lent Is a Christian observance during the 40 days before Easter. During this time Christians may do a literal fast (say juice/water and/or bread). There is also the practice of fasting from luxuries or things that distract a person from their faith. This is much like Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert as there are always temptations waiting for the person to slip.
My husband and I set down a very ambitious list of things to give up for Lent this year:
- Television (except for one show for which we picked “The Voice”, and the news)
- No going out for meals, snacks, etc.
- No computer games (me) or Facebook (both of us) except for checking in on groups we manage.
- No online shopping
For the first couple of weeks, we were both doing very well. The reason for the one television show is that Hubby works afternoons and when he gets home around 10 pm he needs something to unwind. Since we were cutting back computer time and the Voice is one of our favorite shows, we decided to make an exception. We would be recording it otherwise so we decided to “bend the rules” on this one.
After we started this, we realized that we were struggling financially and might have to sell and move somewhere cheaper. There isn’t much where we are that is cheaper and the market is in flux right now. So we started decluttering and pre-packing so we could have the place in shape for viewing. Then we realized that even though the place we were looking at would mean no mortgage, the distance Hubby would have to travel made it less likely to save us money. This “not knowing what to do” triggered both my OCD (boxes all over, not knowing what to pack and what not to) and my anxiety (the fear of not knowing).
So, with the anxiety of finances, to move or not to move, not knowing where anything is, and the possibility of having to leave what we thought was our forever home, I was stressed to the max. And when I am stressed I need an outlet. I was working on a craft project but I started watching TV because with my eye surgeries I was finding it hard to do the close-up work; however, distance and TV are easy to see without glasses!
With anxiety and stress comes insomnia (I actually get it from a lot of things) and this was no exception. It also increases my pain levels which again affect my sleep. So, not wanting to always watch TV, I turned to my computer game to make me sleepy. It worked. I would only have to play about 30 minutes or less for the desired effect.
I was successful at not shopping online, which was made easy by one, the fact I had little credit left on my card and two, the card was used by someone else to make two small charges on so canceled my card. I have no idea how, but I do know for sure I didn’t buy anything from either online company. I am still waiting for my new card; however, I really haven’t had any desire to buy online. This is real progress and one of my bipolar symptoms which have hung on is spending (especially when I am stressed).
As for eating out, we did it once because it was my brother-in-law’s birthday and everyone else was out of town. He is having a bit of a crisis of faith at the moment and we felt God’s hand in our gesture to go out. Other than that we got creative on days that I wasn’t up to cooking and found a lot of “easy meals” in our cupboards, fridge, and freezers.
Oh, yes, there was a snack run one night when hubby got home from work. Added to all my stress was a run-in with a lady from the dog park. Because of my already fragile state, I took what she said very personally and to be true. I don’t want or need to go into details here except to say that within a couple of days all was well. I made peace with her and forgave her for attacks on my faith and character. Anyway, when Hubby called to say he was on his way home, he told me to get ready and he would take me to Dairy Queen for a blizzard! Yes, ice cream cures everything but was against my Lenten fast!
So, this is why I failed at Lent. Please know that these are facts, not excuses. I did and do take my faith seriously and had good hope that I would succeed. I prayed for forgiveness each and every time I slipped but I still slipped and I own that. My faith is everything to me.
I know I am not the only person of faith who struggles with chronic illness. And I am not the only person with chronic illness who often struggles with their faith. No matter how much you believe in God, it is often hard to justify why He would let us go through all that we do. The other side of it, however, is that God gives us the strength and courage to get through it all.
So did I really fail at Lent?
Did I take on too much knowing my health conditions may not allow for it?
Or, did I learn more about myself, my limitations, and my faith? After all, I did not give into temptation but acknowledged my chronic needs.