Friday, April 2, 2010

Failure in Success

Ah, this is a difficult post to write.

I've really appreciated the 40 Days of Water campaign through Blood:Water Mission. It's truly a wonderful organization that helps to supply water to areas around the world that lack clean, accessible drinking water. The money I've saved by forgoing all beverages but water is all going towards providing water to people in Uganda in need. One dollar can provide clean water for one person for an entire year! One dollar!

Yet despite the wonderful reasons for doing this, I wish it wasn't a part of lent. I've never succeeded in observing Lent. I've never tried Lent until about 15 years ago and loved Ash Wednesday, the idea of sacrificing something to further understand, draw closer to the miracle of the Resurrection. I joke that I could be a Catholic because I see these things as beautiful.

Because of this, I wanted to observe Lent this year.... to give something up. I then discovered 40 Days of Water and was surprised that others wanted to join me.

Lent confuses me because there's a part of me that thinks that it is supposed to be done privately and quietly..... yet this campaign is one that encourages dialogue.

So I've been conflicted. Do I talk about what I have given up for Lent and the reasons behind it? (Blood:Water Mission) or do I traditionally observe lent by staying silent? There's a part of me that thinks that this is a community effort and in churches that do observe lent it's not a secret everyone is giving SOMETHING up; but I guess that SOMETHING is what is between you and God, not up for discussion with others.

If you are reading this and I've just really confused you, you can read a bit more about Lent and my pastor's perspective on his blog HERE.

After week 4, it has become really difficult. The first few weeks were fairly easy; I wonder if it was because of the novelty; a bit of a special feeling that I was doing this. Especially because so many of my friends felt I was addicted to diet coke. I consumed so much of it! It was even a part of my identity; people would associate diet coke with me. I even made friends around our common bond of diet coke drinking! I've been drinking diet coke since I was a freshman in high school and the school had a diet coke machine next to the band practice room, which I spent a huge chunk of time between the music rooms and the drama theatre.

Many of my friends thought there was NO WAY I could follow through on this, which just fueled my determination.

It is now the last few days of Lent. I was so very tempted to give up last week, and a huge reason was the fact that I realized that Lent is a heart issue and what does my heart reveal? Yes, of course I desire to help Blood:Water Mission, but I do feel I miss the personal reason why Christians observe Lent.

Knowing this, tonight I really wanted a diet coke with dinner. There was a huge part of me thinking that I should go ahead and have one, because my motives are not right, so truly, Lent doesn't "count" because it's not done "right. So why follow through if I've already blown it? In addition, by giving in would mean a humbling act of failure and to succeed would be an accomplishment. MY accomplishment. My act of willpower. A goal met.

I don't want Lent to just be a personal goal that I met and nothing more.

I know; there's the money raised for Blood:Water Mission and I should be happy with that. I am. I just wish that it wasn't entwined with Lent because I am conflicted.

Telling my family I was choosing to give up Lent and indulge in a diet coke today was interesting. David encouraged me to stick with it; just 2 more days! When I said my reasons I was doing it was wrong, he said it was up to me and that I should feel good I went this long.

But is it about "feeling good"?

Convinced that it would be an issue of pride; a triumphant "I did it" when many around me could not, I thought it would be best to "fail" and consume a diet coke.

Yet my 10 year old cried out, "No mommy! You can do it! Don't give up!"

I chose water tonight. But I'm not proud of my journey. Oh, I'm happy to donate money so that Ugandans can have clean water and I am really impressed by Blood: Water Mission.

I just wish I hadn't wasted this beautiful time and used it a bit more wisely, with Jesus as my goal and the anguish of what He did on the cross as what was forefront in my mind..... not how much I miss diet coke. Not how people perceived me to have a lot of willpower or pity because I miss it, not even because I was supporting a great cause.

I may have done a "good thing" but I missed a lot in the process.

Will I observe Lent next year? I'm not telling. But if I do, you won't see it on facebook or in a blog.

I will say this: I'd gladly do 40 days of Water with Blood:Water Mission again, but not in lieu of Lent. It truly is a wonderful mission and even if you did not choose to participate in 40 days of Water you can still DONATE HERE.

Thank you for reading my blog. Today is Good Friday. May it be one of profound meaning as you contemplate the sacrifice of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. amazing!!! very though provoking... i'm not even sure what to say. you are wise beyond most. your heart is what truly inspires me. thank you for your posts. praying for you, that God would put the RIGHT motives in your heart!