One of the things I've been wanting to tackle in my own life is discipline, so when I was discerning what my Lenten sacrifice would be, I kept that in the forefront of my mind. It's not enough to just do without sweets or coffee or anything like that. Lacking those things doesn't make me focus enough, and I usually find substitutes for them, anyway.
So this year, I am waking up at 5 a.m. each day during Lent. It might sound too simple, but for me it's a real sacrifice. I am usually up by 6:30 or so, and that is enough to get up and around before the kids go to school and I go to work. But that's not enough. I don't get time to spend in prayer when I wake up later, nor do I have time to collect my thoughts. At 5 a.m. no one is up. It's a built-in time for quiet reflection.
And mind you, God has a way of testing my resolve. In anticipation of my early awakening, I decided to get to bed early. Last night my husband and older children kept coming into the bedroom to try and find things, ask me questions, etc., so my "early" bedtime got pushed to about 11 o'clock. Additionally, my children are to the age where they mostly sleep through the night, but not last night. My 9-year-old daughter awoke at 3 a.m. with a fever and a cough that persisted through roughly 4:30, when I estimate was the time I was finally able to go back to sleep...for a half hour before my alarm went off.
At five o'clock, I had a profound conversation with God in which I asked Him if this sacrifice was really the one for me, given my crazy schedule, my five children, and my night-owl husband. The answer came back to me almost instantly...when was the last time you experienced the profound irony of God? Here I was doing the very thing that I had set out to do, to raise my heart and mind to God in the silence of the morning, and I was begging Him to release me from my promise.
I got it. Sacrifice. It's not supposed to be easy.
A blessed Lent to everyone! May we all share in the grace of Christ's passion through our Lenten sacrifices!