Sunday, February 26, 2012

My fake Lenten sacrifice

I grew up in a predominantly Catholic town, so at a very early age I learned about my peers "giving something up for Lent".  Among 7 year olds, it's usually something like candy or chocolate.  I was intrigued by this idea, but figured it wasn't for me because I'm not Catholic (or even Christian).

But a few years ago, I realized I could participate too.  Not for a religious reason, but because the structure is perfect to try to stop doing something not-so-good.  It's timebound (40 days), has a specific beginning and end date, and a bunch of other people across the world are also giving something up at that same time.

One year I gave up Mexican food because I found myself eating repeatedly at the same amazing taqueria while on a consulting gig, and it was doing me no favors health-wise.

This year, after several days' worth of aggravation on Facebook, arguing about things I feel strongly about but in general should just keep to myself, I realized I was wasting A LOT of time there.  I sit down to catch up with friends, and then look up and realize it's 4 HOURS LATER.  FB is not any better for me than TV. 

So it was pretty clear.  I gave up Facebook for my fake Lent, and it's been easy.  A relief, actually.  I don't feel like I need to obsessively check it.  I don't get notifications so I have no idea what's going on there.  I removed the app from my phone so it doesn't tempt me or notify me.

I have extra time to craft, to cook, to read (you know, actual books), and just hang out with babyT and TJ.  Not checking Facebook has also made me less obsessive about checking email, too, which is also goodness.

It goes nicely with my One Little Word this year, 'reduce'.  I'm reducing the number of inputs, the number of sources I have to check and track and general stress/aggravation over political topics.  It really does feel like a weight lifted off my shoulders.  Hmm, I may keep this up past Easter...

What about you?  Did you give up anything for Lent?


  1. I don't do lent... but the Catholic church I went to growing up emphasized making the sacrifice to do Good Works during lent rather than to do something like give up candy. The idea would be that you would deprive yourself but help others while doing so. Suggestions (for the kids) included doing the dishes every night without being asked, being helpful to your siblings, etc.

    That's an aspect of Catholicism that I really like. I know some branches are more into self-denial than others, but there's something to be said for doing good things and thinking outward instead of inward.

    But I'm totes with you on the no-facebook and stuff. I have often gone cold-turkey on addictions.

  2. @n&m - I love that idea of service instead.

    Also, I've discovered the "everything in moderation" approach never works for me. I *need* to have clear cut "rules". I just work better that way.

  3. Not for Lent, but I recently stopped putting sugar in my coffee in order to help lose the baby weight. I've lost five pounds already! Guess I was putting a ton of sugar in there!

  4. Argh, how I hate Facebook. I am a little late as an actual Catholic, because i couldn't decide what to give up. I've decided to give up all sugar. God help me.

  5. There's always G+ - it's quiet enough you probably won't get sucked in. ;)

  6. An, you show up on Facebook as being logged in.

  7. @antropologa - thanks for stopping by. It's amazing what decreasing sugar can do!

    @Shalini - good luck! You'll feel crappy at first but then I bet you'll feel a lot better :)

    @Stephanie - Yeah, i suppose you're right. It's almost TOO quiet over there...

    @Bryce - I think it's because my IM client is signed into my FB account. I haven't figured out how to get my messages from FB otherwise.

  8. I think the theology of giving something up is to share in the suffering of Christ, suffering that was undertaken in the pursuit of a larger goal. So if you're giving up Facebook, the Lenten ideal would then be to use that time to help others.

  9. @Laura - I like that idea. I'll have to think about that some more.


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