No, I didn’t Sleep In


Yesterday evening we feasted on pancakes in celebration of Shrove Tuesday (first time I’d ever heard of Shrove anything!) and then last night I had one of the worst sleeps of my life. Woke up in the wee hours hearing my daughter cry. And while she managed to put herself back to sleep, I never did. Tossing and turning is how I spent the early hours of Ash Wednesday.

What probably made the whole situation worse, was knowing that I would be waking up    v   e   r   y     early to start out Lent with a BANG. It always works that way doesn’t it? When you know you  really need to sleep. You can’t.

It was a big temptation to turn my alarm off and sleep in. But, I am happy to say, I didn’t and thus managed to fulfill the first day of my Lenten commitment.

Lent has always been my least favourite celebration on the church calendar. I’ve never been good at denying myself. And while I thought about it sometimes in passing growing up – the odd “fast” from chocolate or caffeine here and there – I never really thought through the implications. Over the years though, it has become more important and relevant. And now, surrounded by a wonderfully intentional community in Phnom Penh, it means even more. I can see the light at the end of the “denying self” tunnel.

So, this year, I’m taking a slightly different angle. And focusing on the positive. Where I take away something from my life (sleep) in order to replace it with something else (reading and reflection time every morning). Because in the early morning darkness, before the pitter patter of two-year old feet, and the messy diapers, and the frenzy of leaving the house and going to daycare and getting to work on time, is one of the only times where I find sacred stillness.

Wish me luck! I barely succeeded in my first day of Lent and I’m sure the temptation to turn off the alarm, sleep in, and carry on business as usual, will only get stronger as the season progresses.

You doing anything for Lent this year?


3 thoughts on “No, I didn’t Sleep In”

  1. Hi Amie,

    I hadn’t thought about doing anything for lent this year (today is Ash Wednesday). When I was a young Catholic kid, we always “gave up” something, usually candy, so we were always happy each year when Lent was finished. I haven’t thought much about Lent since.

    However, here is something related that may be of interest. Sheila and I are attending a weekly bible study, on “Spiritual Disciplines”, led by our Pastor Ron Phillips. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at disciplines including solitude, silence, reading scripture, prayer, simplicity, self denial, fasting, service, stewardship, community, spiritual friendship, worship, celebration, and gratitude.

    These disciplines are not ends in themselves, but are the means to a life-changing relationship to God. They serve as a means of grace.

    One author, Dallas Willard, has divided them into two categories: “Disciplines of Abstinence” (to counteract sins of commission) and “Disciplines of Engagement” (to counter sins of omission).

    So, I hope you find this to be interesting.

    1. Wayne, I suppose Lent is a specific and focused time of living out those disciplines leading up to our celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. These really should mark our lives throughout the year – not just one season – but it has been a very meaningful experience as an entire faith community in Phnom Penh, working through Lent together. It wasn’t a part of my growing up experience of faith, so I’m finding it fascinating, mysterious and powerful. Thanks for sharing – will have to read more Willard – haven’t in five years!

  2. I haven’t checked here in so long my friend!

    And here you are 🙂

    I am doing lent with you. Starbucks. Which is a big deal for me, because it’s my comfort. What I think I deserve when I go out. A prize for me, and my prize needs to be in God. I have cut out pretty much every other drink as well, although I didn’t officially decide on it.

    We have enjoyed Shrove Tuesday the past couple years, and as much as I hate Lent, I also have grown to love it. It has become such a rich time for me.

    I am encouraged and inspired by your getting up early. I have thought of it often, and then push it off. I think, ‘Oh when Theo sleeps longer’ or ‘after this busy weekend’. I should just get to it!

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