Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Secret Power of Failure

Needless to say, my Facebook fast was a total fiasco from Day 2.... Well, actually the night of Day 1.

I cheated. I peeked at friends' walls. First I nibbled, but the wretched, weak-willed person that I am, eventually I gorged myself on cute cat and hamster videos and the scrolling river of newsfeed stories until I got so sick of myself that I wanted to vomit. 

In the morning, I felt remorseful and promised God that I’ll do better. 

He DESERVES better!

Just give me another chance.... and another...

To my credit, I mostly refrained from posting... but only to discover that I was getting green with envy for all the 'likes' everyone else was getting while I was stuck in social media wasteland, ignored and deprived.

As if the Facebook fast fiasco wasn’t humiliating enough, the following year I came back for more.

On Ash Wednesday, I solemnly promised God that for Lent I’d give up... whining!  

As they say, You don’t know you are addicted until you try quitting.

The Whining fast had the same humiliating outcome as the Facebook one.

You might think that either I am crazy or I glutton for punishment, or both, because year after year, Lent after Lent, I kept coming back for more.

I almost couldn’t stop myself.  

I almost couldn’t resist being humiliated, and battered, beaten into spiritual pulp, on my hands and knees, my sweaty, dirty face planted in the mud...

I can't even begin to explain it.

It's the weirdest thing.

Last year, my husband, who's been watching me with great curiosity fail all this time, got excited – perhaps a bit too much - when I announced that for Lent I was fasting from giving unsolicited advice.

He should have known better, knowing my track record with these fasts...

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The Secret Power of Self-Denial

I didn’t know it at the time, of course, but it was the beginning of a love affair of sorts.  Something that slowly morphed into a secret obsession which made me restless towards much of my ‘old’ life, what used to occupy my thoughts, time and emotional energy; 

…what I used to love and now begun to merely put up with.

Alas, yet again, I am jumping ahead of myself….

Some may call it providence, others coincidence, but my acorn prayer was flung at the sky right around Lent that year.  

Now, I’d been a follower of Jesus for decades but never have I participated in time-honored self-negating practice of Lent.  Century after century, all around the world and all around me other people would deny themselves good things of life during this period of self-refection, remembering Christ's sacrifice and, what I perceived as self-imposed suffering. 

Not I!

Not even an inkling of desire to join in, basking in the completeness and sufficiency of what Jesus did for me … Nothing to add, nothing to take away...

But for some inexplicable reason, almost on a whim, a thought crossed my mind that perhaps it’s about time for me to be nice to God and even give him something...

Something I really liked.  Something I really enjoy.  Something that would represent sacrifice for me to give up.

At the time, I didn't even think about whether God would like it or not, but that's an altogether different story....

The first thing that popped inside my head was,


Facebook?!!!??? NOT FACEBOOK!!!! I  protested in anguish.

But, in that instant I knew that during my first Lent I will be fasting from my favorite social media platform.

I haven’t even begun, and I was already miserable.