In the category of "last posts", I hope for this to be my last Lenten-related post until closer to Easter. I really feel that continually announcing to the world what I am doing for Lent defeats at least part of the purpose... after all, there is to be humility involved as well.
Each year, I like to take what I have done in the past and build on it. Basically, I take a look at the things I have given up in past years, evaluate how it turned out, and decide whether or not to try it again. And then I like to add something new.
I can't believe, now, that I tried to give up chocolate three years in a row before finally succeeding in year four. It is now a matter of course that I give up all sweets during Lent, and I haven't had any trouble with it for four years now. Wow, how was this ever hard? I have to say this is one of my favourite "success-after-failure" stories to pep myself up when things aren't going so well-- everything is hard at first! And since I have managed it during Lent, I have actually spent more time in the past two years avoiding sweets than I have enjoying them. (Not that it has made much difference on my waistline...)
Last year, I gave up all TV except for The West Wing. I knew if I banned TWW, I would never last-- I would fall at the first test. What is funny to me is that TV was never an issue for me before. I never watched enough TV to justify giving it up, until we had lived in free-cableville for about a year. Then, I discovered what everyone else has been on about my whole life. I am so addicted to TV. This year I am making no exceptions to the no-TV rule. I have had withdrawl for a week (to the point that I had a CSI dream last night). But this, too, shall pass.
And what did I replace TV with last year? Computer games. I spent hours every night playing Age of Empires. (Feel free to laugh.) And, as you may have noticed, totally defeated my own purpose in giving up TV. So this time around, I've limited my computer time. So far, so good.
What is the point of all this? Drawing closer to God. It's amazing how much time is suddenly freed up for prayer and Bible study when other options are closed off. It gives me hope that I am not so addicted to TV and internet that I will neglect my children; God has given me the capability to recognise the better things. All week long I've been praying for God to open my eyes to the real world and the real needs around me, and free my brain from the grip the television currently holds on it. Our God is good; he knows what I need. That is what Lent is about for me.