Not that way! Geez, you guys.
Seriously now. Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and many people I know will be giving up something they like for the duration of Lent. I always thought this a somewhat puzzling practice. After all, how does giving up chocolate or Pepsi make you closer to God? What it seems to do to most people is make them bitchy, something I can totally understand.
At least, this puzzled me until I picked up a book called “Memoirs of a Medieval Woman.” It’s the true story of a merchant’s daughter from rural England who wanted to become a saint, pieced together from memoirs dictated in her 80’s. (She didn’t read or write). The book is fascinating and talks a lot about the religious practices of the day (mid-1400’s), and especially the efforts of the church to stamp out heretics. Depriving oneself of sleep, food, and other creature comforts was expected to bring you closer to God.
I’m not sure how that plays out in our modern world, at least in my daily walk. After all, I’m already on a diet that has taken away many of my favorite foods. I can’t say it did anything for my Godliness. (I’d be lying to say otherwise. The bitchy part, though, is totally true).
So, when I thought about how I would commemorate Lent this year, I decided to give up something a bit harder than a favorite food. I’ve decided to give up whining.
Now, let’s be honest. I don’t see myself as a particularly whiny person, but I will definitely admit to the occasional (okay, maybe frequent) bout of whinyness. So, this year, I’m givin’ it up for Jesus.
Lent is 40 days long – who knows, maybe it will become a habit?