Five things Friday roundup: give these up for Lent

— Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

Even though Lent has already started, it’s never too late to give something up. Instead of chocolate or coffee, this might be the time to make Lent more personal.

1. Negative self-talk

All these are difficult things to give up, but this one hits home. Maybe it was a critical parent, judgmental teacher, condescending pastor, or someone else in your life who told you that you didn’t measure up and causes you to talk to yourself in a mean way. If you struggle with this, I encourage you to see yourself as your spouse/best friend/supportive parent sees you. They love you, they think you’re amazing, and I know for a fact they would not appreciate you talking to yourself that way, because they would never talk to you that way. Also, you would never talk to them that way. Be kind to yourself! I know this is easier said than done.

2. Perfectionism

There are many aspects of our society that don’t allow for grace, including some of our theology. Some of us are competitive and need to win, even if it’s not a game. Some of us feel subhuman when we “miss the mark.” Perfectionism is a lie, as no one is perfect. We are human, and humanness means imperfection. What we can do is our best at any given time. It’s not about “winning,” it’s about knowing you are still loved even if things didn’t pan out the way you thought. This also goes for how we look at other people. Everyone is likely doing their best at any given moment.

3. Impatience

Some people are blessed with the gift of patience. I am not one of those people. I have a timeline and an agenda, and when things fall out of sync with that, I get snippy. Whether it’s the grocery line or waiting for an open seat at a coffee shop, I internally roll my eyes. This does nothing for anyone. As I said, grace is important, not only for yourself, but also for other people. Life is full of twists, turns and inconveniences that we can’t control. I know it serves me well to remember what is in my control, and what is not.

4. Compulsory apologies

Do you bump into a chair and tell it “sorry”? I notice this a lot in the Midwest, but it’s everywhere. We are conditioned to apologize for existing. I notice this especially amongst women. We don’t want to be a burden, and we don’t want to be an inconvenience. We also know what it feels like to not be apologized to when others have done something wrong to us, and, in that, we might be inclined to hypercorrect. I try to ask myself, have I done anything wrong, or is this situational?

5. Indifference

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the world around us. We should allow ourselves and others space to rest and lift off our burdens. But there is a difference between that and indifference. Indifference is cold, lacks empathy, and sets us in complacency mode. Some folks can’t afford to be indifferent. It takes wisdom to know when to rest or take a step back and when to speak up. I also think our bodies tell us these things. Let’s not slide into indifference when we are overwhelmed, but take the time to rest and pick up the search for justice when we’ve refilled our glass.

Joanne Gallardo

Joanne Gallardo is conference minister of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA in Goshen, Indiana. Originally from northwest Ohio, Joanne Read More

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