Today holds a lot of significance for those participating in Ash Wednesday. If you don't practice Catholicism, you may be wondering "what is today?!" Well, click here for a great explanation.
While I'm not catholic, this year, I have decided to give something away for lent. Many of us self-soothe with a variety of vices. Anything that you regularly seek comfort from can sometimes be a slippery slope. Sometimes, seeking solace from people can create lofty/ false expectations that can easily lead to disappointment and/or co-dependency. Gravitating towards certain "comfort" foods can obviously equate to weight gain and/ or poor health. Running to substances like drugs and alcohol is never a great choice. If your vice of choice doesn't support optimum health-- you're only supporting a bad habit and an itch you can't really scratch. If your vice REALLY worked then you wouldn't continuously be reaching for it. (Writing this makes me flooded with tedious exceptions and clauses because it's a whole different thing when you replace nonsense with a happy alternative. Ex: I replaced wine after work with KeVita. People who smoke should consider "breathing breaks" instead of smoke breaks. These replacements are still technically a crutch-- so, simply consider being mindful of the fact that you're dependent on something to feel different...but, again, if it's healthy, that's okay.)
These vices not only allow us to feel a different way, but by doing that, you're also participating in escapism. This is where MY lent devotional comes into play. For weeks, I have been pretty overwhelmed and while I can handle stress much better than I used to, I noticed that I was watching a lot more TV in the recent month. I don't actually have cable, but I do purchase seasons of shows via Google Play and I stream Netflix. This is probably typical post-work behavior for most, but I have found myself really only wanting to watch reality TV. If you looked at the seasons of shows I've bought (that I spent actual MONEY on), I would probably be a little embarrassed because it's such trash! The image used for this post is an actual screenshot of some of the titles in my Google purchases. BUT, for me, reality TV is the most satisfying form of escapism because I am truly able to zone the eff out. Not only do most females over analyze, I am an introverted female, who is ALSO a highly sensitive person....whose profession partially requires analytical efforts. (sigh) So, for me, I own the fact that I watch garbage television because I get to quiet my conscious, finally. With that confession comes some more honesty-- I am realizing that I am trying to distract myself and avoid life a little via reality TV. I am about to experience a lot of change and some of this change requires loads of planning and a lot of it is utterly out of my control. Neither of these things are something I am totally comfortable with. I am using TV to escape and avoid some stuff that I really should sit with. Not because I should be all consumed, but because I shouldn't be all consumed. I need to feel it, look at ways to shift my perspective, control what I can, and give the rest to God.
So, tonight is the first night with no TV! I am allowing myself to watch lectures and the occasional classic movie because they light me up so much, but I am going to rely on God to get me through this time of transition-- not the dramatic lives of the elite. I will also have the opportunity to use my evenings writing more (ahem) and really sift through the rest of my stuff so that I can move with more ease and LESS....well. I was going to say less clutter, but I think just LESS sums it up.
Yay, God! I am replacing one empty thing and I will be replacing it with blessings...I can just feel it! STAY TUNED.
Giving something up too? Let me know in the comments below!