Lent crept up under my radar this year. My particular faith heritage doesn't observe the Lenten season as a group, so no one was reminding me. I've been thinking about it on and off, and had decided as recently as last week that I wasn't going to observe this year. I took on a whole lot of giving up and taking up last year (as faithful readers may recall), and I'll admit to not being as successful in that endeavor as I would have liked, and I think that accounts for part of my lack of motivation this year. I don't like to fail.
The other thing (that I haven't really talked about here yet) is that I've been working on healthier eating habits since the new year, and I sort of feel like I've used up all my self-discipline and self-denial in that process. Someday soon I might actually tell you more and report some victories in this area, but that's not for today.
Sometime yesterday I considered devoting this season to moderation. By nature, I have an obsessive personality. Most things that I develop an interest in end up consuming me to the detriment of other areas of my life. Sometimes that's reading. It's often tv, and it's constantly been the internet for the past several years. I am prone to allow my current addiction to come before cleaning my house, meeting work deadlines, sleeping, or helping others. Most of my obsessions aren't bad or harmful in and of themselves, but I use them harmfully. Even my aforementioned healthy-eating kick has become a bit of an obsession. Talking about it, planning for it, and tracking it have eaten up hours of my time in the past couple of months. So spending some time seeking balance and moderation in my life seems like an excellent focus. I have countless neglected, undone, and half-done projects desperately seeking completion, and I hope reorganizing time and priorities in my life will free up space to make progress on these. This will be my measuring stick.
I'll admit that a ridiculously-obsessive flurry of reading that consumed the past four days of my life brought this trait of mine into sharper focus, and it also highlighted what a lot of junk I read. So I'm committing to reading nonfiction (particularly nonfiction that threatens to inspire or improve me in some way) for the next little while--though I'm not convinced that this will last through all of Lent. Last night I started rereading Blue Like Jazz (something I've been meaning to do in preparation for the movie later this year anyway) because I wanted to refresh my memory of it before I read Million Miles (finally). I've got several other books that have been piling up ignored for a while, so I'll work through them for a while--in moderation, of course.
This morning as I was waging my constant war with tardiness, I came up with one other area I'd like to give attention. I'm going to give up being late. More importantly, I'm going to subdue that selfish part of me that excuses and encourages my habitual tardiness. I don't just mean that I'm going to get to work and church and appointments on time--although that would be a big enough order. I'm also going to meet deadlines and respond promptly to communication. I'm going to whittle my huge email backlog down. I'm going to stop wasting other people's time. I think this is probably the place where I'll fail most often and become most discouraged, but it needs doing.
As usual, my purpose in sharing my Lenten plans is to seek out accountability for myself. I invite you, imaginary readers, to check up on me, keep me honest, encourage me, and kick my butt as needed as you see me trying and failing and succeeding in these goals over the next thirty-eight days.