Since my first Mardi Gras as a Louisiana resident, I've been practicing the discipline of the Lenten season.
Stopping eating bread. Starting daily devotionals. Making more of an effort in various areas. Etc.
What I grew up considering a Catholic-only tradition has taught me as an adult the value and pain of sacrifice, as well as the purpose of this season: the reminder of the ultimate gift Jesus gave us when He willingly offered His earthly body to be brutally murdered on an unhygienic cross for no reason except to absolve slackers like me.
Because of that reminder, Lent will probably always be a part of this Protestant's life, whether or not it's part of the church I attend. (For the record, the practice IS encouraged at First Presbyterian of Baton Rouge, which I wholly appreciate.)
In the past -- and possibly for most of my life -- I've been an over-committer. I've said "yes" too much, spread myself too thinly, gotten burned out, and developed stress from volunteer projects. Stress from volunteer projects. (Can that be right? One wouldn't think so... But yes. I have managed this.)
Don't worry, though, because apparently my new move resolution in '07-'08 was to NOT over-commit, and boy, have I ever stuck to that. In fact, I've stuck to it so well that I've become, as my Nan would say, "plum lazy" in certain areas of my life. Saying no has gotten entirely too easy for me -- so much so that I pretty much let myself to do that as often as I want.
So this year to mark the Lenten season, I've decided to give up, well, giving up. No more slacking after I've committed. No talking myself out of something that's on the calendar. No excuses.
Will I be jumping into the junior league of BR in the next couple of months? Well, no. (Um, baby steps!) But I WILL hold myself accountable in two major areas of my soul and body: church and the gym.
So, goodbye, giving up. I'm afraid I'm giving you up.
See you around Easter!
Or will I....? :-)