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Geraldine's musings

February 26th, 2012

Lent and self-deception @ 01:01 pm

Current Location: same old place
Current Mood: embarrassed embarrassed
Current Music: none at present

I was considerably exercised as to what to give up for Lent this year.

I had mooted giving up using the Internet, but realised that I simply don't have sufficient self-control to keep it up for six weeks, so I came up with an idea.

I would not allow myself to use the Internet until I had done at least an hour's writing.

I didn't start on Wednesday because I hadn't decided what to do, but since Thursday, when I did two hours to make up for Wednesday,  I've been doing  a minimum of an hour's writing every day before going on the Internet, and  I was feeling quite pleased with myself.

Last night, however, I was lying in bed thinking about Lent and suddenly realised that while my little scheme might be enabling (or forcing) me to write more, there wasn't a lot in it for God or anyone else - all the benefit was to me.  I felt really stupid and now I don't know what to do.

Then I started to wonder what any Lenten benefit achieved should be for;  maybe it's always for our own benefit in the long run?  It was certainly to my own benefit when I gave up smoking.

So I'm back to square one wondering what to do for Lent.  I suppose I could give up chocolate or cake (which I eat very little in any case because of the diabetes), or alcohol (ditto), but I know from past experience that I don't find that at all difficult so it seems a little pointless.

Perhaps I should challenge myself to walk a little farther each day, which would certainly be difficult and painful for me, but there again, the ultimate beneficiary would be myself.

I think I shall just have to force myself to be kinder to John.  I wonder if I can do it!
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Date:February 26th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
I don't recall us ever making all that much of Lent when I was a churchgoer in my teens. Methodists didn't go in for that kind of thing. As far as I know, a period of fasting is intended to focus the mind on holy things. As it says on this page, "Lent represents a spiritual training time to overcome evil." And it does suggest giving up wrath as well as eating less and more simply. :)

As to who benefits, I suppose everyone is supposed to. The period of fasting is supposed to intensify your worship of God, make you nicer to other people and generally be a better person. I'm not sure that making progress with your writing quite does that, but there's no reason why you shouldn't use the period of Lent to practice self-discipline -- which is basically what you are doing.

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Date:February 26th, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
I think what one gives up or takes up is dependent on one's own abilities and capabilities.

If you can't exercise your body, exercising your mind by writing is the next best thing. We can get too hung up on giving something up, but I think it's as much about changing behaviour as anything else. I gave up sugar in my coffee for Lent in 1982. I don't think that really benefited anyone (with the possible exception of a tiny reduction in my parent's food bill), But I've never taken sugar in coffee since. Which is ultimately only of benefit to me, mostly because I use so little sugar in anything other than jam and the occasional thing I bake. But I still eat sweets and all the other things that have sugar in.

So if writing is benefiting you and making you happier in yourself, it will have a knock on effect to the rest of the family in a way that you may not be able to do physically. And the discipline of not going online until you've done your writing is changing your behaviour. I don't see there's a problem with that.

Geraldine's musings