We are now in the third week of Lent and I could almost promise you that Ash Wednesday was…today. It goes so fast and as I reflect on what I’ve given up I decided to share a bit about my Lenten journey (so far).
I gave up my snooze button. Before Lent I had gotten into this habit of setting three alarms every morning and pushing the snooze button on each of them as many times as I could. It had gotten to the point where I set an alarm for an hour before I actually had to get up because that’s how long it took me to wake up. It was lazy and annoying but I couldn’t really break the cycle. I was in love with my snooze button, so it had to go.
I should also preface that, as a youth minister, there really aren’t any days that I have to be anywhere terribly early. Most of the time I don’t go into the office until after noon anyway, but that doesn’t mean I want to spend my entire morning sleeping. Tuesdays, however, we have staff meetings at 9:30am. So, Mr. Irish and I go to Mass at 6:30am and then I head into the office. The first Tuesday of Lent was my real test of giving up the snooze button. The other days I could do okay without it and be just fine, Tuesday, however, I had to get up. My first thought waking up was, “I could just set another alarm and that’s not pushing the snooze button…” as if I didn’t know better, as if Jesus didn’t know better. I turned my alarm off and promptly fell back asleep. God didn’t want me to miss Mass so I woke up a few minutes later in a total panic and I was up for good.
In the days since that first Tuesday I’ve still struggled to get up when my alarm goes off. I fall back asleep. I tell myself I only need five more minutes. The panic sets in and I wake up freaking out and that doesn’t really put me in the best of moods. Instead of setting my alarm for an hour before I need to be off, I set it for exactly when I need to be up. Any later and I’ll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off (also not my favorite way to start the day, I like starting off slow and enjoying the day rather than rushing around).
Here’s what I’ve learned so far this Lent by giving up my snooze button:
- Giving up my snooze button (which is usually my first conscious thought in the morning) causes me to FIRST think of Jesus. I wake up and I think “snooze button” which is quickly followed by “LENT!” It forces me to remember and think of Jesus as my first real thought of the day. Even when I want more sleep, waking up to thinking of Him and His sacrifices is a much better way to start my day. It gives purpose to what I do that day and every day.
- Jesus knows when I’m slacking. There was one day that I forgot and pushed my snooze button. I hit that magic button and then before my head even hit the pillow I felt so guilty that I got up anyway. He doesn’t let me fall asleep on Him.
- Jesus knows when I’m cheating, and not just in my Lenten sacrifice. When I try to negotiate with myself and think, “I’ll just set another alarm instead” He whispers to me that I know setting another alarm is bascially the same as pressing the snooze button. If I have enough energy to set another alarm then I have enough energy to get up. The same is true in my faith life, if I have enough energy to justify one sin or another then I have enough energy and will power to avoid that sin in the first place.
I got tired of sleeping through alarm after alarm. By giving up my snooze button not only am I waking up in a better mood in the morning, I’m also learning that I’m tired of sleeping through Him and my commitments to Him. It is time to wake up, and not just because the snooze button isn’t an option anymore. It is time to wake up to Him, to my love for Him and to honor Him more fully.
Have I mentioned that I love Lent? Happy sacrificing!