If You’re into Lent…And Even if You’re Not

I know I’m a week late to this party and I know “party” is not the most accurate reference to the season of Lent. But I’ve decided to participate in Author and Blogger Elisabeth Esther’s GENTLE Lent, so I’m cutting myself some slack. This is a beautiful and rather revolutionary concept and you can read more about WHY a Gentle Lent, HERE. The idea is to offer up something simple from your life during the Lenten season, as opposed to a major oppressive forfeiture. I totally get that referring to coffee or sugar as a “major oppressive forfeiture” is dramatic. Don’t be judgy. And I know it’s possible that people far more righteous than I  may bristle at the idea– feeling that a small sacrifice is no sacrifice at all and in fact pathetically cheap in light of what Jesus did on the cross for mankind. They are totally allowed to feel this way. Participating in a Gentle Lent is relative to everyone’s individual history and experience. And if they want to give up coffee or sweets and still be their miserables selves suffering away for Jesus, so be it.
I am not a good giver-upper. And I don’t really know many people who are. This idea of giving up something on a smaller, gentler scale than say, coffee or beer, is more realistic for me. Translation: I’ll do it.  If the purpose of a Lenten fast is to make more space for God, I don’t want to spend the whole season pining for my forbidden fruit. That’s completely counterproductive. If I were giving up coffee I would spend an embarrassing amount of time thinking about how sucky it is, dreaming about coffee and wishing I could have some. And so instead,  here is my Gentle Lenten sacrifice…drumroll please: My sad Pandora music stations. I know what you’re thinking–she’s bat shit crazy. No really- you’re thinking can she do it? Will she do it? She has sad Pandora music stations? Well they’re not CALLED that. But I know that’s what they really are for me. Music and lyrics that feed my darker, more contemplative side–music that feeds heartache and painful spaces in my life instead of buoying me towards positivity–or God, for that matter. So. I’m gonna try. It’s only Day One. At first I was already compromising. (I am nothing if not diplomatic with myself) One of my favorite stations is the Indigo Girls. You know, umm, super reflective, soulful lyrics that make you hide all the sharp household objects from yourself? Yeah, that. At first I thought I would just see how it goes and if a trigger song came on, I’d fast forward it. Except that turned out to be many, MANY songs. So I had to switch the station entirely. Truthfully, I have a feeling that even when Lent is over, giving up these sad stations is probably a better choice for me long-term. Well, you know, only if I want to be happy and such.
Bottom line for my Gentle Lent: More Maroon 5 and Disney Pop, less Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles. I feel like Jesus is already proud. Yeah–even of the Disney Pop. Shush.
What about you? If the idea of a Gentle Lent resonates with you, I’d love to hear about it~ Or any of your own Lenten practices for that matter. Leave a comment below~ And truly…be gentle with yourself.

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