Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Lenten Journey


     We're about two weeks into Lent and I have to say that my journey is a tough one.  One of my challenges is to live more within in our means, to use less resources, to live simpler.  I'm mostly doing this through the 40 bags in 40 days.  I have done this once before but this year it falls in perfectly with what Pope Francis is asking the world--  "Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.  God's voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades."

     When I read this and the insert in our church bulletin, it really spoke to me.  My family and I are caught up in earthly possessions.  I KNOW we're not as bad as some people but we still have a ways to go. We spend way too much on little things.  As much as I try to stick to a budget, we're always running to the grocery store to pick up something extra- usually something we can do without.  We have way too many tv channels that we don't watch.  Our kids are always asking us to buy something just because.  We spend too much time watching tv or playing the computer or video games.  We buy sweets and coffees just because.  We pick up fast food for lunch or dinner just because it's more convenient.  We have more clothes than one person could possibly need.  We have the desire to purchase and the mentality that we deserve tons of things for holiday and birthday gifts.  We spend more on ourselves than we're willing to give to others.

     There.  I said it out loud.  We're selfish and most of the time we don't realize it.  Did you know that today's adults (all ages across the boards) spend more in one year than our grandparents did in a lifetime?  That our homes are more than 50% larger than our grandparents' homes and filled with more unnecessary things.  Why is that?  That's a hard one to answer.  I think that most people, sometimes myself included, feel that we deserve it.  We figure, hey we have extra money or credit, why not use it.  THIS HAS GOT TO CHANGE!  Not just for myself and my spiritual and earthly well being but for my kids too.

     I need to be better.  My husband, my children and I need to understand that we don't need things or shouldn't buy things just because.  We NEED to feel satisfied and happy with where we're at.  We need to understand that we don't need to keep up with the Joneses or get an upgrade.  We need to understand that life is more than just what we have.  Life should be about not using more or spending more than what we need (don't confuse want with need)!   Our family needs to get back to this.  We need to help take better care of God's planet.  We need to also take better care of our finances.  We need be more accountable.

     Stuff is a burden.  And I don't want to add any more burdens to my list!  I love how Catholic Icing puts it "Stuff is a burden.  It just is.  There's no such thing as owning things that don't take time and energy.  Everything has to be dusted, maintained, organized, stored, etc.  Take some time to consider this:  There has not been 1 point in History yet where people owned the amount of things that we do today without having help in the home.  For the most part, you were either poor and you had 2 dresses- your regular dress and Sunday dress, OR you had tons of clothes but they were cleaned and maintained by servants.  So this era of "stuff" with no help in the home is uncharted territory."

     This is why this Lent HAS to be the beginning of something better.  I get so anxious when I see the extra stuff we have.  I am hoping that by downsizing stuff, that I can spend my time where it should be....with God and my family.  I'm planning on not just clearing out our clutter but also clearing out things that are taking up my family and God time.  I need to have a simpler calendar.  I can't stretch myself too much.  I'm already seeing Lily struggling with me being away from home so much- due to scouts, volleyball, and a few other things.  My family and my God have to come first. There will be time for the other stuff....eventually!

     This is where I am on my Lenten journey.  I am a work in progress.  I am getting there, slowly.  Where are you?

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