So, I failed Lent. Again. I know that Lent isn’t really something you can fail. I know the intentions of Lent are for personal reflection, humility, and prayer. And I know that I failed.
My goals for Lent were pretty simple, or so I thought. I have gone all out before and then that causes pressure and problems because you spend so much time on the things that you forget what it is really supposed to be about. I’ve done it that way before so I have tried to keep it super simple in the last couple of years. And I have failed.
My goals this year were to spend some time each day or as often as I could in reflective prayer, read 2 chapters a day of a gospel, and family readings from Thomas Merton’s Lent & Easter Wisdom. There were a few other things, but these were the main focus.
I did well on the reflective prayer for a week or so. I used the time that I commuted to work to just sit in silence and listen to whatever God had to tell me. More often than not, I got distracted. When I wasn’t distracted, our current one-car-family status and the fact that Nathan often had to drive me to work precluded the practice.
I slipped up on the family readings. Our lives just haven’t been conducive to this kind of regularity and I didn’t plan and wasn’t intentional.
Reading the gospels was probably the one I was most successful with, but that was marginal, too. I did make it all the way through Luke and Mark and over halfway through Matthew. There were a few days where the reading was just something to do because I knew I was supposed to. However, there were many days where I was thoroughly blessed from the day’s reading.
So, since Lent for me was such a spectacular failure, what did I learn? Well, a lot of grace. I learned that I need to be okay with failing something. Not that I never fail, but, man, I am NOT good at it. At all. I tend to beat myself up repeatedly. But not this year. I failed. I did not accomplish the goals that I set out, but that’s okay. I’ll move on and try to do better from here on out.
I also learned perseverance. After almost two weeks without doing our Merton reading, I still picked up the book and read a couple days’ worth. Then tried to make it through the Holy Week readings. Neither one caught, but I didn’t give up until the end, even though I still failed. But that’s okay because now we can use the Merton book next year and I can save a little money.
Because I will still work toward observing Lent again next year. I may have failed a bit this year, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll just throw up my hands and relent. No, I will keep going. I will continue to try to observe spiritual disciplines and to observe the Liturgical Calendar where I can.
What about you? Did you do anything special for Lent or Eastertide? Are you a #liturgicalfailure just like me? Let me know!