I have participated in lent every year since I was in middle school. I am not part of the little c catholic church but I knew lots of people who were growing up. When I was younger I just gave up things for fun, to see if I could do it. So I would give up things like candy, chocolate, fried foods, or one year all sweets. Stuff that was challenging to me, but still fun to try to go without.
But when I was in college my reason for participating in lent changed. I started actually putting thought into what I was going to give up and how it was going to bring me closer to Jesus during that time, which is what it’s supposed to be about. The last two years I’ve struggled to come up with something to give up. Last year I decided I was going to give up a half hour of sleep every morning and spend time in the word or praying.
Coming up with something for this year was a bit harder. I had one idea all along but I didn’t want to do it. But as the season of lent drew closer I knew I should do it. When this becomes your life you know you should probably do something about it.Ok really I never took 6 hour naps. But I was taking more and more 4 hour naps. I had let myself get into the habit of taking a nap almost every day after the kids left for school. Sometimes they would only be 2 hours and then I would get up but they had started to get longer and longer.
So I gave up naps for lent. I called myself crazy. When I told other people, especially the people I work with, they all thought I was crazy. But I knew it was something that would bring me closer to Jesus. I knew when I got really tired I would have to lean into him for strength, love, patience, etc. I was also hoping that I would use the time I used to nap and be productive. So how did it go? First I just want to say the Lord is so GOOD and so FAITHFUL. Every time I went to Him, and leaned into Him, he came through big time. I may have told him 5 billion times I wasn’t sure I would make it the 40 days without a nap, but He still was faithful.
There was one morning I was so tired that my prayer before going out in the cottage in the morning was “God help me have love and patience with the boys this morning because I have none.” One of the boys ended up having a major attitude and was being a real toot, and I was just about to get onto him and give him consequences, which would have made the situation way worse. But I heard this small voice in my head saying just wait. So I waited and sure enough a couple of minutes later He apologized for his attitude and the things he was saying, and admitted he was so tired it was making him grumpy. So I got to tell him out of love and patience, and not out of anger, that we all get tired and grumpy and we just need to learn to not let that affect how we treat others. It was a much more effective teaching moment than it would have been had I not waited. Right after I was done telling him that I just knew the Lord had answered my prayer.
There were other times that I would be so tired but I unexpectedly got to either go to bed earlier or sleep in a little longer than normal. Really anytime I was focused on Him through it He came through.
I’m not writing all this to say look at what I did, look how good I am. Because I’m not that good. There were lots of days through that period that I didn’t lean into the Lord, and I was short-tempered with the boys, I let my grumpiness determine how I dealt with the boys. I am sinful, I make mistakes, I’m not perfect. But I did want to document this year’s lent and how the Lord was so Faithful and so Good throughout.
So the question now is have I taken a nap since the season of lent ended on Easter? And the answer is yes. I have taken a total of 2 naps since then. Both of them have been this week. I took a 1 hour nap on Monday, and I took a 2.25 one on Tuesday, my first day off. I have to say I was a little scared to start napping again. I don’t want to allow myself to go back to where I was before lent. So I’m trying to only take them when I really need them.