Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Have You Lent Lately?

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." ~ Matthew 6:5-6

Before I start this, I want to offer a disclaimer. Here it is:

I, Charee, do NOT intentionally plan to offend those who occasionally post scripture, pray in public or profess their faith with the blog post herein. I am merely stating my point of view as a lifelong Christian who loves God too.


Now that we have that out of the way, I'd like to address the trend I see happening on Facebook and blogs with regard to religious beliefs - with a special emphasis on Lent as it IS Ash Wednesday after all.

I started noticing that many of my friends are giving up Facebook for Lent. It seems to be a trend for everyone to announce when he or she will be leaving, staying, giving up and returning to Facebook. Not just for Lent, but in general. 

I know I'm a kinda-sorta-maybenotsomuch-blogger, so I admittedly have an ego of sorts. BUT I haven't ever felt the need to warn people of my leaving or returning to Facebook - or to expound upon all of my beliefs about every little item I see in the news. If someone misses me, then I feel sure he or she can find me easily enough to find out where I went.  If I don't agree with a book or a movie, I don't need to brow beat others who feel differently.

And, as far as Lent goes, I don't really need to share what I'm doing for Lent. It's a personal decision that I will make and perhaps share with my family, but otherwise I just think it loses something if I'm making sure everyone knows that I am SACRIFICING my **insert answer here**. (Ok. I know I joked about giving up winter for Lent, but that was a JOKE. Everyone knows that winter won't give me up, so it's a hopeless "sacrifice".) For me it just belittles my decision - making it all about me and not about the reason for it. 

As the adorable monsignor said today during our school's Ash Wednesday service, Lent should be not so much about what you give up as choosing NOT to live a life of indifference. 

He told a story about being challenged by his parents to give more during Lent. If they gave up candy, he and his siblings were to take that money they saved and to give it to a cause that needed it. I think that is such a beautiful notion. And I bet they didn't announce to the world they were going to do it either. While he talked of the sacrifice, his general message was more one of quiet outreach. 

I'd like to live my life that way. I know I'm not humble enough - or kind enough - to truly pull it off in every facet of my life. But it is a goal for sure. To quietly help others without requiring thanks or recognition is beautiful to me. And to show character through my actions rather than shouting about myself from the rooftops just feels right. 

(Since they would never say it, I will tell you that my belief about this comes naturally. All of my parents quietly do things every day to help others and don't expect recognition. I say ALL because not only do my naturals do it, but my steps as well.)

Now don't get me wrong. There is nothing I love more than a good story or a good scripture posted every now and then. I love hearing about something exciting happening in people's lives too with regards to faith. Even if I disagree with someone's belief system, I can appreciate the desire to share it. It's not an issue to me if someone posts fairly frequently either.  

It does, however, feel very attention seeking and gratuitous when that's ALL a person posts about or talks about. It can even end up sounding judgmental and mean spirited. Somehow I just don't think that's what God intended.

You don't have to preach to the masses on your social media 24/7 to get your point across. Heck, you probably won't get your point across if that is all you do, because the relational side of it gets lost in the midst of your hourly exclamations of devout faith. Life is more than professing your beliefs every second of the day. Life is about avoiding indifference. It's about MAKING that difference instead of preaching about it.

So, there you go. I'm sure I've ruffled feathers - but if you know me, then you know I come by that genetically. I won't ridicule you for your Lent posts or your scripture posts. And I hope you will understand when I don't follow suit. 

Oh - and for those who are giggling because I am such a loud person - I KNOW!!! I spill my guts about everything else... so I've got to have something I don't make a big deal about! Right?