On March 1st we started the season of Lent. For those of you who are not familiar with what that is (like I was), this explanation from Mary Fairchild is helpful:
“Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. The Lenten season is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, self-denial and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial, and resurrection. During the six weeks of self-examination and reflection, Christians who observe Lent typically make a commitment to fast, or to give up something—a habit, such as smoking, watching TV, or swearing, or a food or drink, such as sweets, chocolate or coffee.”
Soooo…. In the spirit of a serious fast for Lent… I decided to give up candy.
I’ll tell you more. Ever since I was little I had this thing about eating candy. It was like a habit or ritual after every meal. Like in BULK. I can probably blame heredity, because having this sweet tooth for candy runs in my family. Just a few decades ago, when my parents were little, they were getting candy by the POUND with just a few cents. That would have been a heavenly experience for me.
Fortunately I enjoyed brushing my teeth just as much, so I didn’t get my first cavity until I was 21! I would like to thank this song for that…
Giving up candy may not sound as serious as giving up things like clubbing, alcohol, overeating, overspending, obsessive make-up, or smoking, but for me it has been a serious way to practice regular discipline. For me, the key to lent is…
Just like trying to start a diet, when you have lived a certain way for so long, the idea of changing something sounds practically impossible, but we can start with the basic principle of self-discipline: correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.(merriam-webster.com/dictionary)
Believe me it is not easy. When you have a habit it is a trained behavior–one that is hard to break. On a more personal note…
This month has actually ended up being my most challenging month this year. I had some unexpected wake up calls related to my family– biological, extended, and spiritual. Although each situation was unique, I’ve noticed a common theme. Each instance involved a build-up of unhealthy things over time. Many “red flags” became more obvious and clear now then ever before. Even so, I cannot say that I nor anyone else could have solely stopped anything from unraveling in the ways they have. Time will tell how these things will play a a role in how I will continuously mold as a person.
All in all, life in March has not been easy. There are many questions and few answers. All the emotions are there: loneliness, confusion, blame, anger, anxiety, depression, isolation, and fear. Basically, I am human. We are human.
With all this going on, faith has never meant as much to me as it does right now. When you do not want to hear those cliches and words that people try to speak into you, and want to escape, God finds you… God finds you when a friend comes into town from home and notices changes in your behavior. God finds you when someone calls out ways you are pushing away people who care. These moments are so difficult, but they also offer glimmers of truth and grace. You can wallow in the hurt or you can see the new ways God is revealing himself.
Random List of Positive Things:
And there were definitely things to celebrate this month. I HAVE A CAR IN CALIFORNIA. For those who do not know/remember I have been very dependent on walking, buses, co-workers, and fellow interns to get around. Thankfully, everything was so close. All my needs were continuously met, and I am grateful. God’s timing is truly amazing, because getting this car was nothing I expected, but it strategically came at a time in my life where I could use it!
A best friend of mine came to visit. We lived it up with and experienced all the feels together. I mean ALL of them! Then we joined by other treasures along the way.
My roommate’s friends came into town. I experienced San Francisco in a new way and had THE BEST fried calamari medley in my life at a fancy restaurant. It was so good, that I have no picture for proof.
We took fabulous pictures as an internship, to update our website…coming soon…
I saw the new Power Rangers and it was LIT.
I saw Ariana Grande live again. That ponytail of hers is on point and her vocal notes are pointier.
I am in a good place. When you tap into real emotion, some days can be more difficult than others. You know what? That is okay. Allowing myself to feel unpleasant things in this part of my life ends up being liberating in the long run. No need to bottle up or put up walls all the time. Wallowing never did any good for anyone. Find a healthy method , a trustworthy person, and some faith.