If you are thinking of giving up something for Lent, I recommend giving up worry.
This will be the third year I have tried to give up worrying for Lent. I worry about everything. And I do mean everything. If I’m depressed I can always find a dark cloud in the biggest silver lining. The first year I gave up worry was the most rewarding Lent I have ever had, spiritually, mentally, even physically. Last year, I had much more trouble giving it up. That’s why I want to try again this year.
If you are like me, and worrying is so much a part of your life that you think it is normal, here are some actions I took to help me give it up.
Pray every day. I couldn’t give up worrying without God. I pray when I walk, so every day, I would review my vow, thank God for the worries I gave up the day before, look at what I was currently worrying about, and rededicate my efforts to give them up. I needed to check in with the Coach before plunging into the day’s “game”.
Become objective. I worry so naturally I had to step out of myself mentally so I could observe my symptoms of worrying. If I had racing, repetitive thoughts, or a sick stomach, or shortness of breath, I knew those were signs of worry. I would look at my thoughts, sort out the worries, and kick them out. As I became more aware of my symptoms, I could catch the worries sooner.
Take it day by day. If you tell God on Ash Wednesday that you will not worry again until Easter, you will fail. Don’t look further ahead than one day. Pray and then work through the day to run the worries out of your head. Even if you have to do it fifty or a hundred, or five hundred times a day at first, you have not failed. Every day you work at it, you are fulfilling your vow.
If feel moved to give up worry for Lent, let me know how you are doing.