Lenten resolutions are the thing of the moment.
And I hope it’s not too late for a last-minute change.
A few years ago, I decided to be creative. Instead of giving up food or TV or internet, I resolved to look myself in the face every morning and say something nice about myself.
It sounds easy-peasy, doesn’t it?
It was the hardest thing I ever tried to do.
And after about two weeks, I abandoned it. Completely. Day after day passed and it was too difficult to find something good about me.
Why was it so much easier to give up something tangible, like sweets or email or Lost (that was misery) or caffeine? Why was the one thing I couldn’t let go of the deep-rooted self-hatred?
My original 2012 Lenten resolution was to give up popcorn. It’s become a nighttime comfort food, something I like a little too much.
But I think I want to add the intangible thing too.
I’m going through a rough-ish patch right now. A million things in life are coming at me at once and my stress levels are through the roof. I’m an overachiever. I need to make sure this all gets done. I can’t “just relax.”
But I also can’t do everything. Or do everything perfectly–and that’s the problem. When I fail, I don’t rage and destroy stuff. I don’t scream at my family (okay, maybe a little). I don’t drown myself in alcohol or chocolate.
But I can silently scream–at myself. I can criticize, throwing angry, hurtful words around inside me. The mirror, the to-do list, the frustrations of life all become occasions for abuse.
The purpose of Lent is a sort of spiritual renewal. But it’s hard to go deep into yourself when you can’t even look yourself in the eye and say “I like you just the way you are.”
So that’s my other Lenten resolution. Every day, to look at myself and say it:
You’re worth something. You’re a good person. You can do this.
Self-renewal can’t happen without a sense of self. Do I appreciate the gift of who I am? I don’t know. I don’t think I do.
And that’s why, whether it takes 40 days or 40 years, this is one resolution I want to keep.