Lent is frightening.
Not only because I am compelled to "give something up," but also because I am called to a higher level of discipline.
I am called to make a commitment to sacrifice things I do not feel ready to sacrifice; things to which I feel very attached, things that richly contribute to my daily comfort and satisfaction.
I am the first to admit that I'm a procrastinator.
I cannot speak for all who struggle with this, but for me, it's because I'm afraid to try.
And I'm afraid to try because I'm afraid to fail.
I cannot identify all the particulars of why or how this happened, but somehow I adopted the dangerous paradigm of performance-based acceptance.
That is, who I am is not sufficient.
I must be constantly doing, and doing, and doing, in order to gain and maintain approval.
If I fail at what I do, I become substantially less appealing, acceptable, lovable.
Last week at a neighborhood tavern, drinking Corona with lime and sharing a theological chat with a dear friend, I had what Oprah would call "an A-ha! moment."
My friend said, "The grace of God is a gift. It's not about what you do. You don't have to do anything."
Certainly I had heard this before, but somehow it had never slithered its way into the core of my spirit, spreading its tranquil truth all over my ever-present anxieties.
Perhaps my Lenten disciplines ought to involve the further exploration of these issues.
Graphically confronting oneself is to give up the falsehoods that comprise our own carefully constructed facades.