About 8 weeks ago I was dealing with a body issue that has flared up a lot over the last 12 months. In an effort to not over share, that's about as far as I'll go. This particular issue is helped by the consumption of water, so I left the doctors office 8 weeks ago and drove straight to the water store and bought myself a pink reusable water bottle. That water bottle has been my constant companion these last 8 weeks. I've taken it everywhere with me. It's one of the first things that I grab in the morning and the last thing I reach for at night before turning out the light. So far, that pink water bottle has done its job...I've stayed hydrated.
I've heard that it takes about 6 weeks to change/adapt/get used to a new pattern or way of doing something. 6 weeks seems like such a long time and yet is relatively short when you start thinking about it. I know from many experiences that after about 6 weeks on any diet, I would stop constantly thinking about food. Those 6 weeks seemed like an eternity every time (and there have been many times, unfortunately). My 8 weeks with my pink water bottle has gotten me into a new habit and started to edge out old ones. I've found that my heartburn has disappeared the more water I drink as I've had less soda at night. I've also found that I'm spending a little less money on beverages than I did before. Though I still like my daily Nonfat, with whip, White Chocolate Mocha's or Diet Pepsi, thank you very much. My 8 week habit is a good habit.
If it takes approximately 6 weeks for something to become a habit, then it seems like Lent was set up for such a purpose. I've had a love/hate relationship with the whole idea of giving up something for Lent for a long time. In Youth Group Days, I would discuss the reasons for Lent with the group and we would all share what we were giving up...except for the years when I encouraged them to do something new, like read their Bible's every day or pray or help other people or something that would get their focus off of them and onto Christ. Inevitably there was always the one who would give up chocolate for Lent and then loudly let us know every.single.youth.group.meeting. The meaning behind Lent always seemed to get lost in challenge of surviving the 6 weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
The last few years I've not made any changes. I thought about it this year. I thought about giving up something for Lent and realized that I still have some issues there. Years of feeling frustration with the "fad-ish-ness" of Lent (yes, I may have made up a word, deal) are still on my shoulders. It just feels like another ritual of religion that has lost it's meaning and that makes me sad. Lent feels like one more thing I do because of my faith and that's just not okay.
So maybe, for the next 6 weeks, I'll spend time not giving something up but seeking after something that has been lost in the shuffle of living as a believer in Christ and working in the church. Maybe, for the next 6 weeks, I'll spend time with my Creator, looking for that spark, that energy, that vibrant belief that disappeared quietly along the way, buried beneath the load of rhetoric and dogma that is the church and not of Christ. And maybe, in 6 weeks I will find myself reaching for God the first thing in the morning, the last thing and night and all the hours in between with new life, new energy and a renewed thirst.