Let me be blunt:  I sucked at Lent this year.  Yes, I know it's not over yet, but we're getting near the end (Easter is just two Sundays away) and I have not been or done what I set to do.  I have allowed this Lent to become unintentional.

As always, I set out to have a "good" Lent.  (I know the term is somewhat strange, but go with it.)  I made my "vow" (to myself) to give up chocolate and alcohol.  I planned on being slow to anger and show kindness.  (I even wrote about it:  https://bfthsboringblog.blogspot.com/2022/03/reflections-on-ash-wednesday.html)  I intended on participating in weekly prayer sessions.  Somewhere along the way, my intentions fell by the wayside.  They fell pretty fast.

While my lips have not touched chocolate, there have been plenty other sweet treats.  (Swopping one for the other should NOT be part of the plan).  I indulged in some wine drinking.  I was definitely NOT slow to anger nor was I as kind as I should/could have been.  And as for those prayer meetings; I had opportunity after opportunity and I missed them all.  Completely forgot each and every week.  (I do have one more chance for a Compline service, but it conflicts with another meeting that I have to run so...)  If I were grading myself, I'd say that I've failed Lent.

However, Lent isn't a test you pass or fail.  Lent is should be about mindfulness (which I have not been) and personal growth.  There is still time for that.  I can reflect on WHY I didn't follow my plan.  (Maybe because it wasn't a written plan.)  What kept me from being intentional this Lent?  (I allowed myself to be too distracted and stressed.)  What can I do to avoid this for the rest of the Lenten period and for next year?

Let me start with the plan.  I need to have one.  If I am going to have holy Lent, I need to establish guidelines and stick to them.  For example NEXT year Ash Wednesday falls on February 22nd and Easter falls on April 9th.  The time to start planning is NOT February 21, but the beginning of February.  I should block out time on my calendar every day (even if it is only for a few minutes) to remind myself of my daily commitment.  I've even got February 3, 2023 marked on my calendar as the time to start planning for Lent. The minute I find out about services that I want to participate in for Lent, I need to put them on my calendar (and maybe not just one.)  Intention is only good if there is planning and thus far this Lent I've failed on that end.  I've allowed the stress of my daily life (which is ever changing and evolving) to distract me.  Going forward in order to keep a "good" and holy Lent, I need to plan and I need to commit.

Lesson learned. (I hope.)  I'm ready to move forward with intention for the next 16 days of Lent.  Maybe I haven't failed after all.


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