Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten Season

We've (almost) made it over the hump! This week has seemed to go by fast for me, but my to-do list just seems to keep on getting longer. I cross one thing off and then add three more. I fell slightly behind, or I just feel a little behind, with my trip to Austin this past weekend, as I did very little school work while I was there. And I don't regret that, but I have felt like I'm playing a game of catch-up. And tonight we have "Cardinal Kickoff," in which incoming freshman will come and see what Bellaire is all about. I'll be holding down the volleyball booth, and hopefully recruiting some dynamite freshmen to don the Cardinal red.

Because it wouldn't make sense for me to go home and then turn around and come right back, I am staying up at school, with the intention of getting some work done. Organizing my desk, anyone? And because I didn't want to have to shower and re-ready myself, I woke up bright and early this morning to get in a swim before school. I have found that the key to getting a lane to myself is getting to the gym right when it opens at 5am, or meandering on up there around 7:30pm - after all of the youth aquatic fitness and aerobics classes have ended. And for some reason waking up at 4:40am to swim is a whole lot easier than getting up at 4:40am to run. Especially when it's a crisp 40 degrees outside. Which, if I'm being honest, is pretty ideal running weather, but a dark 40 degrees feels much colder than a sunny 40 degrees. So while yesterday's after-school sunshine-y run was a dream come true, this morning's frost? Not so much.


It's that time of year again - the time when we pick something to give up in honor of the Lenten season. If you celebrate Easter, that is. And, even if you don't, people often use this time to give up something that has become sort of like an addiction to them. Now, I'm not Catholic, but I have always tried (and usually failed) to give up something for Lent. Usually food. My Granny always, always, always gave up chocolate, and I always tried to follow suit. Chocolate, sweets, frozen yogurt - I successfully completed that one, surprisingly enough - and last year I told myself that I would journal every day of Lent. Yeah, right. One year some of my WyldLife teammates and I said we would read through the New Testament in 40 days. Again, I fell off track. Maybe some give up using foul language, as I know I could certainly watch my mouth while sitting in Houston traffic, turning off technology for a couple of hours a day (we all know I could benefit from that one), or some other bad habit that will help turn us back to Jesus. While those last few are a little bit closer to what the Lenten season is all about - preparing our hearts for Easter and experiencing the want, sacrifice, and temptation that Jesus experienced in the wilderness - I don't think it matters what you decide to give up or do for Lent, rather why you decide to give up or do something.

I know I'm guilty of giving up sweets because maybe it will help me shed a couple of pounds. Does it ever? No. Instead, it makes me irritable when my friends are enjoying that delicious cup of frozen yogurt and I'm eating carrots. Besides, what's a day without chocolate, anyway? This year, instead of giving something up, because I have found that doesn't really turn my heart back to Jesus, I'm going to take a little bit of time each day to write down either what was great about that day, what I'm thankful for, or a combination of the two. Every day is not going to be great, that is for sure, but there is something great to be found in each day. And I can't take any credit for that thought! One of my fellow UTeach grads has started a blog, that I absolutely love reading each morning, in which she is writing down one thing that she is thankful for every day for a year. What a difference it can make to look back on a day and reflect on the good that happened! Even if you have to dig a little deeper for it. Especially if you have to dig a little deeper for it.

I also want to commit one new piece of scripture to memory each week, and maybe make it a verse that I'm not already familiar with. There is no love without sacrifice, and though I'm not technically "sacrificing" anything, except maybe a few minutes spent wasted on Facebook, my hope is that I can celebrate and rejoice in the good news that I am made new each day by a gracious and loving God.

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