I’m notorious for reinventing Christian traditions.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Bible girl. However, some of the man-made practices need revision, in my not-so-humble opinion.
Lent is one of those traditions in need of change, and it began Wednesday. For those not familiar, Lent is the six weeks leading up to Easter. It is a time where some Christians make sacrifices, most commonly things like refraining from caffeine, sweets and other indulgences.
Scripture is packed full of customs. I cannot locate a verse that instructs God’s people to give up chocolate six weeks before Easter. Actually, I have found several Scripture verses in the New Testament declaring freedom from religious customs, as it became unnecessary after Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
So for me, Lent is out. I have a year-long, daily need to resist temptations. I suck at it. I also have bigger problems than sugar. Before you get excited, I’m not confessing. You’ll have to pay me as a speaker to get that kind of entertainment. It ain’t cheap.
I don’t believe refraining from sugar will help me grow in my faith. Instead, I’m pretty sure it will lead to weeks of binging on clearance Easter candy.
I just don’t think sacrifice is the order of the day. Let me put it this way: I haven’t felt led to practice a traditional Lenten sacrifice. It won’t help me resist those pesky temptations just like diets haven’t had lasting effects on my eating habits.
As a mom, I’m a little burnt out on making sacrifices. I’m finally coming out of a long, seven-year stint of not sleeping consistently through the night. I’ve come to the realization that I will never actually finish the laundry. I make dinners I don’t really want so my children will eat something off their plates. I don’t get to watch my television shows unless everyone is either out of the house or asleep.
My 3-year-old has successfully staged a coup on my Jacuzzi tub. It was a reasonable trade-off for bath times without warfare. An Elmo toy with the strongest suction cups I’ve ever experienced has replaced my bath pillow. I feel bitter every time I look at it.
Instead of Lenten sacrifice, I’m declaring this a time a Jubilee. The year of Jubilee is a Mosaic Law of sabbatical that occurred every seven years. Slaves were also freed during this time.
So I’m using Lent as a kind of sabbatical and freedom from slavery. It will be simple things. For example, everyone in the house is now responsible for putting on their shoes. I’m not picking up toys, and I don’t care if I don’t see the carpet in the playroom for the next six weeks. I’m purchasing enough underwear for everyone to allow for an every-other-week laundry schedule. I’m stocking the pantry like we’re preparing for a nuclear winter. I’m focusing on local produce stands because I need a break from loud grocery carts and moody cashiers. I’m watching every single Oprah on my DVR. Everyone in my house needs to get on board with eating salmon.
I’m even preparing to reclaim my bathtub. Watch out Elmo.
Sarah Herron is a 30-something blonde navigating marriage, motherhood and morals in Maryville, Tenn. She is editor of Blount Moms Today and a contributor to youth resources for the United Methodist Publishing House.