what i’m giving up
i’ve been hemming and hawing about what to give up for lent. lent has been, for the past few years for me, an important time to rethink what i do without thinking.
two years ago, i gave up unnecessary spending. it was an amazing time for me to realize just how much i was paying for Wants, and not just needs. it became apparent to me that my spending was being done without thinking.
last year, i tried to give up sharing my opinions. those of you who know me well will remember that… um… that’s basically impossible for me to do. i was hard on myself for a while, but i realized that making myself conscious of what flew out of my mouth, even though it still often came out, made me rethink how i shared what i thought. i often changed the way i shared, even when i didn’t stop my opinions from being shared. i was rethinking what i was saying.
this year, i thought about giving up unnecessary internet use. i was going to limit my personal use to 15 minutes a day. over the past year i have discovered online television (on a bored sick day) and facebook. both of them are sucking up much of my free time and even some of the time i should be using for necessary things like -ahem- cleaning the bathroom. it was a good plan, a good idea, but a niggling thought kept coming up that it just wasn’t right.
i considered going back to giving up unnecessary spending, like two years ago. that was a very fulfilling and yes challenging forty-seven days, and i remember being sad when it ended. certain wants that i saw coming up during these days of lent made me think i’d feel like a failure-we are traveling to see friends that we need to spend time with this weekend, i’m traveling to rwanda and burundi in a few weeks, and i haven’t gotten my hair cut (other than by my own scissors) in over two years. some of these things seemed unavoidable. the hair cut? well, i just didn’t want to give that up. i found myself already cheating when i wrote my friend, a talented hairstylist, a check so i wouldn’t technically be spending that money during lent. but more than these things, it just seemed like a repeat of what i needed two years ago and not quite hitting on what God has to teach me now.
i thought about giving up the snack bins at work. i hit those a little too often, without thinking, and they really aren’t necessary. but again, this seemed trite and not really what i was supposed to be learning during lent.
so what to do? what am i supposed to be learning? what does God want me to be conscious of this year, while we prepare to gain more understanding of the sacrifices that He made for our lives? how was i going to learn more how much He loves us, loves me, values me and my life?
i realized, tonight as i became hyper aware of how very down and stressed i am these days, that i have allowed a lot of unhealthy, unconscious things to sneak into my life. i lie around and chat on facebook when what i really need is a real in-person conversation with a friend (or my journal!). i watch online television while countless amazing books sit on my shelf half-read. i eat Crap, from those tempting little bins, when my body is asking for Real food to keep me going, to give me energy and satisfy my body’s needs.
and i do it all without thinking, without really being conscious of it all.
this year, for lent, i am giving up unconscious consumption.
i want to be conscious of all the things, tangible and spiritual, that i consume throughout my day. how do i eat up my time? what kind of media and how much media do i consume? how am i spending my money? what am i putting into my body? what ideas and concepts am i taking in without considering them?
i don’t want to just unconsciously take all of this in. i want to keep record of, take note on, and consciously make decisions about my consumption. i want to consider whether these things are wants or needs. i want to consciously determine whether it’s healthy, whether it’s worth it, how much i want it and how it will affect me.
i’ve read about conscious consumerism, i’ve followed blogs of others who have done something such as this. i was most intrigued by this very concept in the “bridget jones” books and movie: bridget kept a record of what she consumed every day. this keeping record helped her keep herself conscious of what she was taking in.
i don’t want to make this my bridget lent year, but i do want to be conscious again. i want to make choices, eyes wide open, about what i let in and what i use up. i have a feeling this will have a profound effect on both my understanding of myself as i am now, as well as a lasting result in what comes Out in days to come.
stay tuned. i’ll try to give you snippets and thoughts along the way.
it’s time to rethink what i consume without thinking.