Last Wednesday began the Christian season of Lent, the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Every year I make a personal committment of positive self-growth during Lent. But when I tell this to other people, they often say, “But you’re not Catholic!” Ok, you’re right, but I don’t think Catholics own the rights to Lenten sacrifice. Granted their no-meat/ fish fry season is well-known among us heathens, but obviously there is so much more to Lent. My friend Pastor Scott Elliott shares his thoughts in the following YouTube video about the meaning of Lent. The letting go of the old, and changing BEHAVIORS as a process of renewal. This does not have to be a Christian-only practice. The concept of personal sacrifice for renewal is well-known.
Yogic science practices 40 days to change a habit. I have heard people say it takes 21 days in a row to change a habit. There are stories of people who set a goal to make a change for a year, giving up credit cards for a whole year, or eating only 7 foods for 7 months. People fast for political change. Many of us set New Year’s resolutions to make personal improvement and change. Monday is the day to start the diet. National Smoke Out Day reminds smokers to quit. All landmark dates of Mark, Set, Go!
Besides being a reminder of a Man who sacrificed his Life for ours, Lent can be a recommittment to personal growth, to positive change. A kick in the pants to keep working on self-improvement. Of course you don’t have to start on Ash Wednesday, or follow the Lenten calendar. Pick a day, any day, and make a committment to yourself. In high school we had a motivational speaker named Mark Scharenbrock who taught us “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” This resonates in my head all the time. Where do I go from here? If we focus too much on the past we get stuck. So let’s put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. In AA treatment they talk about “therapeutic relapse.” Does that mean it was good to start drinking again? No, but let’s learn from it, why did it happen, and how can we keep it from happening again. This can be true with anything we want to change. Give yourself room for error, 92% is still an A.
Below are some links I found when I googled sacrifice and change. They do a good job at suggesting how to set these personal change goals and make them happen.
We all know teetotalers. We all know hypocritical church-goers. Lent is not just for Catholics or Christians, it is for anyone who wants to make a personal committment to self growth and renewal. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, let’s get started. Ready, Set, GO!