Let’s talk a little bit about Lent. It’s one of those things that I always want to be intentional about, but it usually seems to slip past me every year. Before I know it, it’s halfway to Easter and I’ve barely realized it. Our church has a Lent service, but it was at 7 a.m. this morning, the time we all wake-up and Clay has to be at work. I’m sure if I had wanted to try REALLY hard I could’ve made it, but rush hour traffic into Seattle during the time when I’m normally nursing a cup of coffee while sleepily watching The Wiggles and checking my email…well, I just couldn’t swing it this year.
But I have been thinking about wanting to fast during Lent. I don’t think I’ve ever done an official Lenten fast, and part me really wishes that I was a part of a church that does a corporate fast like the Orthodox and Catholic churches do. But alas, I’m left to figure it out on my own, so here’s what I’ve come up with. I want to fast from selfish free time at night when I should be sleeping. Simply put, I’m imposing a strict bedtime upon myself. Clay and I have gotten into the BAD habit of staying awake every night until around midnight. And then Harris wakes-up once a night and then I’m up with the kids around 6:30-7. It’s just not a good routine. We’re certainly not doing anything productive, just sitting around watching reruns The Office and How I Met Your Mother. We’re both night owls and tend to be kind of stingy with our free time. By the time we’re getting ready for bed, it’s usually after 11 at least.
The problem with this is that that makes me a very tired mommy the next day. The past few mornings I’ve been dragging more than usual, and while I used to take a nap every afternoon, Harris has dropped down to one and it doesn’t always coincide with Evelyne’s very well, so I don’t always get my much-needed nap. (I know that sounds pathetic to those of you who never get the chance to nap!!!!) I notice a big difference in my patience level, the kindness (or lack thereof) in my voice, and my desire to play with the kids when I’m tired. All I want to do is tune-out, the tv is on more than it should be, and I get irritated much more quickly.
I read something recently (and for the life of me I can’t remember where I read it!) that talked about different levels of love in a relationship. They talked about loving the other person for your own sake and loving them for their own sake, but then they mentioned something I had never thought about. They talked about loving yourself for the sake of the other person. Taking care of yourself for the benefit of the other. I immediately thought about my poor sleeping habits and how it affects my kids. I need to take better care of myself for their benefit. They need a mom who is more energized in the morning, who has more patience, and who is in tune with them. Hence, my fast. I’m going to fast (which will hopefully turn into a healthy habit) from selfishly staying awake until all hours of the night simply so I can have more free time to watch tv and read on the Internet. I’m imposing a lights out time of 10:30 on myself. (this is really early for me!) Will I make it? I really hope so. I want to do this as a discipline of love, to take seriously the family that God has given me.
I know Jesus said that you’re supposed to fast in secret and all of that, but I’m sharing this for two reasons. First, because I need help! Ask me, remind me, hold me to it!!! Surely if I put this out in the blogosphere it’ll help me remember to be serious about it. Second, because I would love to hear any ideas y’all have or things you do with your families to celebrate Lent. What is a good way to introduce Lent to kids? I’m kinda new to this, so clue me in!