As you start this week, may you be willing to give something up. And may you be willing to give it up with no expectation of return, other than maturity, wisdom, and a heightened sense of who you are.
(If you can’t tell, I’m pretty much writing this to myself.)
Some of you reading this are Christians, like me, and so you know that this Wednesday marks the start of Lent, the season where we historically practice the art of sacrifice for the sake of soul strengthening. But even if you aren’t a Christian, there’s something of value for you in this act as well, because—well, to put it simply… it’s often good that we don’t always get what we want.
As an adult who walks this earth, and as someone who probably lives a rather everyday life (no servants to answer your door, in other words), you probably have countless opportunities to do without. Chocolate, Facebook, sleeping in, extra purchases of whatever… they’re there, all the time.
Our wisdom helps us dictate throughout our days what we should say yes or no to—it’s a hallmark of adulthood, in fact, this ability to say “no” when our flesh wants to say yes. It’s not easy.
And it’s not about holiness, even, or about proving ourselves a worthwhile person who’s better than our neighbor chowing down on junk food. It’s about quieting our soul so that we can hear who we really are. It’s about nitty-gritty, down to earth reflection.
This benediction today isn’t about Lent. it’s not asking you to partake of a ritual or a practice beyond what you’re called to—it’s a simple reminder, a call to action, that life isn’t always about our immediate gratification, and that this week, you can choose to remind yourself of this through a simple “no.”
Think about your default indulgences, the rituals in your life you save for your escape hatch…is there something there you might need to set aside for a short period of time in order to strengthen your soul? Could you benefit from a brief hiatus from that (fill in the blank) in your life?
I know I have one, so this week, I’m going to start the simple practice of saying “no” to that thing so that I have room to listen, to grow, to learn, and to mature by denying a small thing in my life. I’m curious to find out what I’ll learn from this centuries-long practice of temporary self-deprivation for the betterment of my spirit. I hope God’s voice becomes clearer.
What’s been your experience in saying “no” to yourself so that you say yes to maturity?