I've been mulling over for sometime now what I want to do for lent. I LOVE lent. I NEED lent. Every year, I always have such grand plans to cleanse my soul and rid my inner being once and for all of something I am struggling with.
I was speaking with some friends last night and we were talking about the intense pull of the computer some time for hours, often times for fifteen or so minutes, but whatever it may be think of what we could be putting into our spiritual lives without this continual distraction.
I read in the Magnificat yesterday the following,
"So I advise you to love nothing except Him. For He is so desirable that if you have him, you will not be able to desire anything else."
Also, I found this gem in Matthew Kelley's book "Rediscovering Catholicism":
"When our children know more about teen pop-idols than they do about Jesus Christ, it is time for us to reassess the place and priority our faith has in our lives."
I translated the following to my life. When I spend more time on-line than I do with Christ, I need to reassess my life. When I spend more time reading different blogs or websites than I spend time reading about Jesus Christ, I need to reassess my life. When I spend time comparing my life to others to see how I am doing over comparing my life to Christ's life, I need to reassess my life. When I have no trouble spending an hour or so on a blog post, but haven't spent an hour with Jesus first, I REALLY need to reassess my life. When I will check my email just "one more time" before going to bed over saying "one more prayer", I need to reassess my life.
My life is out of order. I am not involved in immoral things, but simply put again, my life is out of order. I was telling my friend Kristi today that we are to experience Lent in a way that changes our lives. We are to have a metanoia. What does metanoia mean? The definition is as follows:
a transformative change of heart; especially : a spiritual conversion. Greek, from metanoiein to change one's mind, repent.
I need this. I crave this. I want this. I know the only way possible for this to happen this lent is to step away from the number one thing in my life that is distracting me and keeping me from Christ literally, physically, and spiritually. It is the computer.
I first thought of not doing facebook. Then, I decided to not read other blogs, websites, etc., but would have John check my email and then relay any information that was important. Finally, I decided that I am literally unplugging the computer. It will be a complete black out.
My mind has been occupied all day of what this will entail and the thoughts I had regarding the issue is that we only have goodness to gain. What will we miss?
For several years, my mother and I gave up calling each other all during lent. We talk multiple times every day so this was excruciating. We also had another stipulation. You had to write the other person a hand-written letter every day to tell the other of the events of the day, what we are learning from this phone fast, other thoughts, and just small talk in general. I still have these letter treasures. I loved getting the mail every day.
Just think of the wonderful advantages for this proposal. More letters will be written, more phone calls will be made, more thinking/creating for ourselves will be done instead of turning to certain blogs for inspirational ideas, more sleep will be had, more books will be read, more holy hours will be said, more talking will be done, more playing with children, less comparison, less feeling inadequate, more prayer time which will replace screen time. Tons and tons of reflection. I can honestly not think of one draw back.
Lent only lasts 47 days (technically) so what will be lost? There is nothing so urgent that cannot be put on hold for these 47 days. We have a good 2 1/2 weeks to get organized. Let people know that you will not be on the computer so if they need to tell you something, they must call, come over, or write you a letter. I know several people who do banking on-line, so you might have to make a few visits to your bank to get that months statement, but remember it is only 47 days, this can be done.
I know I do most of my communicating with friends via email so one might think that they don't have the time to call so and so for this or that. Just think of the time saved by not being on-line. I am sure it doesn't compare to a few phone calls here and there. Some might be worried about keeping up their blog and recording certain events. This is were I plan to journal and then transfer the information after Easter and even if I don't get the event down, really was it that crazy important?
We have a Catholic church right across the street from our home. One would think that one would visit the Son of God every day because He lives across the street. Well, that little diddy is about to change. I want to visit Him every day. I want to replace screen time with getting to know Christ. Shame on me for making the computer a bigger priority than my spiritual life. Shame on me for not walking across the street every night before sitting down to the computer. Shame on me for not picking up a spiritual book and deepening my faith before getting on-line. Shame on me for turning to the computer first when I have a child worry instead of walking over and asking God what to do.
I want to have a conversion. My brother Andrew and I were talking the other day about life's "game changers." You know, the times we look back upon our lives and can say that a certain event, certain book, certain conversation literally changed the course of our lives. I want this lenten experience to be a game changer.
Andrew told me a beautiful story. I called him last week and we were chatting like usual and I asked him if ever worried about losing one of his children to sickness. I had been to the Pediatrician with Clairvaux that day and he (the doctor) wanted to send us on to a Pediatric Pulmonologist to have her throat/lungs looked at. It probably will involve a scope, an MRI, and possibly surgery because of narrowing of the subglottic region of her throat. I cried all week. The thought of my darling baby in surgery just does me in. I do not trust, but I want to trust. Anyway, he said he doesn't worry about losing his children, but he does worry about providing for his family. He said that it consumes him sometimes and even brings him to tears.
So, he then told me his remedy. He said at his holy hour, he literally walks up to the altar and lays his worries on the altar. Physically with his arms, he lays his worries down and says to God, "They are yours." Wow.
Then, he told me that his bills were really tight this past month and they literally didn't have enough money so guess what he did? He said, "Lindsay, I made myself write a big fat tithing check to show God how much I trust Him." That blew me away. THAT was a game changer for me.
I want to have that faith with my children. I want to lay my worries physically on the altar of sacrifice and say to God, "They are yours." I want to be able to say when I am worried about Clairvaux, "Lord, she is yours, not mine." In order to get to this point, I need to spend more time with Christ. I need a conversion of my current way of thinking. I need to pray more. I need to sit more with Him to even have those conversations.
I write to you out there in blog land to take this challenge with me. Let us do this together. Let us see how much we can grow. Let us see how far we can be stretched to show ourselves how much we need Christ and nothing else. So, I return to the beginning of this post.
Are we so full of Him, that we need nothing else?
Do we know more about Christ than we know about anything else in our lives? Do we spend the majority of our time getting to know Him more or other distractions?
Please join me. Won't it be wonderful to read, talk, and write about our experiences after Lent? Won't it be so refreshing at the end? Won't it be worth it?
To me, nothing is more worth it. Let us prepare now.