Wednesday, known as Ash Wednesday in Christianity, marked the beginning of Lent. The forty day period, excluding Sundays, leading up to Easter traditionally has been a time of reflection, service, and fasting. For most of us, we give something up for Lent. Usually, we give up something that is a treat, temptation, or just something fun. Facebook, chocolate, and coffee are some favorites among my friends. On Tuesday, my older son Jason was asking me about Lent and what it means. He said, “Mom, I’m giving up homework for Lent.” To which I replied, “Jason, that’s not really how it works.” Cue old lady from the Geico commercial. So, his next response was to give up chocolate chip cookies for Lent. “Great choice, Jason. That’s a good sacrifice to make,” I said. As I was thinking that my ten year old was catching on to the spirit of Lent, he asked, “Mom, can you go to the store and get me some Oreos?” Good grief.
Oh, well, he still has a few years to figure it out, but I was still thinking about what my plans would be for Lent. There’s nothing like procrastination, but I had been focusing on the ice storm we had on Monday, my family and friends who lost power, and what we were doing for school and work. I always have a Lenten devotional on hand and take an extra ten to fifteen minutes each day for reflection. As a crazy, busy mom, that’s a time I cherish to myself. Many of us are so busy that we rarely take time to reflect or just sit and be. Sitting is highly underrated, by the way. So, I had my devotional ready, but I still hadn’t found that one thing to “give up” for Lent. Then, as I saw so many people posting on the Mombook, I mean Facebook, that they still didn’t have power, it hit me. Power. I would give up power for Lent. Lent, and really everything in my life, is not about me. Yes, I know that I should make taking care of myself a priority [that’s a topic for another day], but truly, if I say that I am a Christian, my life is not about me having the power over anything. It’s about me giving up my power and handing it over to God. Coffee, chocolate, alcohol, all of these things are great to give up, but ultimately, those little things are all about the one big thing — power. The power we have over our lives, or that we think we have. In truth, we really don’t have any power over anything. Lent is a time of reflection, so I’m going to take these next few weeks and reflect upon the things that I cannot control: the weather, traffic, my children’s behavior :(, my hair, and a host of other tiny little things that make me cringe on a daily basis. Instead of trying and failing to control these things, I have decided that I will give up the power to try to control them and give it over to God. I don’t really have power over any of these things anyway, but perhaps recognizing that is part of the journey. Maybe giving up chocolate would be easier. We’ll see.