In past years for Lent I have tried giving up something I love for 40 days to varying degrees of success. I gave up listening to radio in my car and spent the entire Lent with peaceful drives silently praying and had time to think and plan ahead and pray. I gave up chocolate one year and spent the entire Lent counting down the number of minutes until I could eat chocolate again and in no way brought me closer to God.
This year I have decided to try a different tactic: instead of giving up something I am going to try an if-then strategy. if I choose to do an activity or enjoy a treat I will balance that with something healthy or spiritual. For instance: if I turn on my tablet so that I can access Facebook or play games then I will first open Fr. Robert Barron’s Lenten Reflections, or some other Spiritual Reading for at least 10 minutes. If I turn on Roku to access Netflix or Amazon Prime, then I will first have to access Either TedTv or an exercise Chanel or Yoga Chanel for at least a half hour. If I choose to have a treat, then it will have to be balanced by a much healthier choice for the rest of the meal.
What I am looking for this year is more balance in my Lent. I want to allow God direct me toward the Good when I move toward the less helpful. Since the direction toward the good will be each time I want to do something I perceive as a treat, it should be many times a day, increasing my awareness and prayer time.
Hopefully it will be a new and invigorating way to live out Lent. I will let you know in seven short weeks.