The Season of Self-denial

The Mount of Temptation photo by Photo by Snowscat on Unsplash

It’s the season of Lent for Catholics around the world. What an irony because as I’m writing this post, the song that plays in the background is “Constant Craving” by K.D. Lang.

I have taken on fasting from social media and Netflix during these 40 days for the past years. But unfortunately, I have failed to use those freed-up hours in ways that would have strengthened my faith and deepened my relationship with God. So I made sure I re-purpose the hours wisely this time around.

The Phone Call

Days before, a friend of mine called and asked, “What is Lent about?” So, to make sure I mentioned everything, I looked up the internet, and a couple of words struck me: self-denial.

Obviously, these words escaped me before. “Now I have to figure out how to make this happen in my life,” was all I could say.

“Be careful what you ask for,” he teased.

True enough, opportunities came one after another; I only had to say, “Yes.” From giving up minor indulgences to dropping a day’s plan for someone, it’s always a question of, “Is this what You need me from me right now?”

Starting each day goes like, “The plan is to not have a plan“, which is a bit challenging for semi-control freaks like me.

I can testify, though, that we cannot out-give the Universe. Going out there and creating a direct impact on someone’s life made me feel joyful and fulfilled. It’s always been my desire. 

The Thought

As I was exercising self-denial, I wondered, “How did I ever forget about how good this feels?”

You see, I used to do these things, and then at some point, I stopped.

Was it due to fear of rejection?

A feeling of not giving enough? 

The experience of being used or taken advantage of?

Or perhaps, exhaustion from it all?

If one or all of the above is true, how do I deal with it?

Then I recalled one conversation I had with my mom. She said you can do and accomplish anything you want. But what makes the difference is the intention behind those acts.

Hitting a Chord

I believe my mom is right.

We can manifest many things in life, but none of it would give us joy and a sense of meaning if our intention is wrong, to begin with.  

sundaewrites

You might say the rightness or wrongness of an intention in most cases is relative, and that’s true. So a guiding rule can be “what sits right with you.” Because at the very core, I believe we are wired for good, wired to create and impact something good.  

The weight of a task is also directly linked to the nature of our intention.  

A friend and I talked about this last time and figured when we are motivated by the desire

  • to please;
  • to be recognized;
  • or be rewarded; 

A task feels heavier on our shoulders. But if we change it a bit and do something just because,

  • we are capable;
  • we care; or
  • it improves other people’s quality of life;
  • it represents better stewardship of resources; 
  • it makes other’s jobs more manageable;

The so-called task feels light and easy. Suddenly, our core becomes attuned to something greater, higher, and powerful, and we just flow.

Lent or not, I hope you think about your guiding intentions today. It doesn’t just fuel your actions but also determines the quality of impact you leave on other people’s lives.

Trusting you…

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