“When the why is strong enough, the how is easy.” – Jim Rohn
I’ve been hearing over the past week or so what friends, family, clients and even folks I don’t know on Twitter have given up for Lent. Now the “trending topic” is how hard it is to give these things up. “One week down, five to go,” one person on Twitter wrote. Oh, and many who have given up alcohol, gave themselves a special dispensation for St. Patrick’s Day and probably for March Madness, too!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lent, it is the 40-day period leading up to Christianity’s most holy day, Easter. It commemorates the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness prior to embarking upon his public ministry and where the Devil tried to tempt Jesus three times. Christians have come to observe this commemoration by giving up some type of vice for the duration to symbolize Jesus’s sacrifice of not taking the Devil up on his tempting delights.
I understand the symbolism, and I’d like to throw a different spin on the tradition, from a coach’s viewpoint. Rather than restricting yourself from chocolate or sweets, only to throw yourself face-first into your child’s Easter basket early Easter morning, how about using this 40-day period to actually begin a change that will last? Apparently, if you’re “giving up” chocolate or sweets for the Lenten season, then perhaps you feel like your consumption is out of control for some reason.
So, I’m sticking with the chocolate here…
Why did you choose chocolate or sweets or in the case of my sister, fast food? What is the reason behind these choices? Or, did you just arbitrarily pick something?
Let’s say what you REALLY want is to quit eating chocolate when you’re upset or frustrated. So,instead of creating the temptation of a forbidden fruit (are you sensing a theme…?) by totally restricting it, how about you change your Lenten commitment to something like: Instead of scarfing down a King-size Snickers when I’m upset, I’ll take a few minutes to figure out that…well… I’m mad at my boss! I’ll handle the emotion around that and then mindfully ENJOY one piece of chocolate. Hhhmmm, doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice? Or, maybe the chocolate just isn’t that appealing anymore.
This is about purpose, Ladies….
I’m no scholar in biblical exegesis, but here’s my take on the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness – I don’t think he was really that tempted. Whoa, now before you get your panties in a wad, I’m not dissin’ Jesus. I’m simply saying that he wasn’t interested in these supposed temptations because the principles around his purpose were so strong, that the temptations just weren’t that attractive. Nothing could have tempted him from the business at hand and we can use this same idea in our own wilderness of change.
If your purpose for doing something is strong enough, you’re not sacrificing anything – you’re not depriving yourself. You’re giving yourself a gift – something more meaningful than a contest to see who can do without chocolate, beer, or God forbid, American Idol for six weeks – a gift of purpose and rebirth.
Oh, and my sister? She changed her Lenten commitment from NO FAST FOOD to pulling into Taco Beuno only one time per week; something she hopes to maintain long into the future for her larger purpose of better health.
Please leave your comments, questions and ideas below. And, remember, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot
With love from your partner on the path,
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