Last Friday, I perused the library shelves, looking for some entertainment to take my mind off of homework. After some deliberation, I decided on a TV show which I had never heard of, although our library had all four seasons on DVD. That evening, I popped in Jeeves and Wooster
Wooster is spoiled, rich, and is not that productive in society. Problems arise, and he has no clue how to handle himself. And so he relies on Jeeves, who solves all of his problems. Why should Wooster, of all people, get such a special treatment? I know, that in my daily life, I've had this same question before. WHY should so-and-so have everything work out so perfectly? How many times have we all surfed Facebook and clicked through another person's pictures, wondering: why? I mean, I'm happy for them, but why doesn't anything this cool ever happen to me? And as I sat there, watching Jeeves and Wooster and traveling this train of thought, it hit me: this show was a perfect way to prepare for Lent. Seriously, it helped me to nail down an area of attack. A spot of my life that I don't have enormous problems with, but one that I must work to eradicate completely. Comparison.
Lent is one of my top favorite liturgical seasons. I love it. I absolutely love it. Yes, Lent is difficult and stretches me; I mean, I'm not the best at sacrificing and undergoing small mortifications. However, Lent is a wonderful time for me to focus on sacrifices and self-mortification and falling more madly in love with God. And then after the epicness of Lent, we get the extreme epicness of the Easter Triduum, which is my completely favorite liturgical season. But along with all of the epicness, there are a lot of temptations that arise during Lent each year. One of the biggest ones that I've noticed or experienced? Comparison. It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others:
"Oh, that person is doing way more sacrifices than me, ergo he or she is totally holier than me, and having a way better Lent than me."
"Shoot, he's not doing anything compared to me. I'm so stellar when it comes to this fasting routine!"
"Seriously, I feel like I'm the worst at Lenten sacrifices, but everyone else makes it look so easy--they are all pros!"
This Lent, fast from comparison. Let's stop comparing ourselves to others, and instead focus on loving them. Let's challenge ourselves to grow in love and sacrifice this Lent out of love for God--not our of pride in comparing ourselves to others. When I was a freshman in my household, there was a phrase that some of the upperclassmen women spread around like wildfire: Comparison is the thief of joy. How can you have true joy, fulfillment, and freedom when you are constantly ensnaring yourself with comparisons to other people? How can you have complete healing and peace in your life is you hold onto past events with vengeance, bitterness, and compare yourself to people in those events? Let's have true joy for others-and ourselves-and not worry about it. Not worrying about who is doing "more" for Lent. Not worrying about who is doing "less" than yourself.
God isn't comparing you to other people, so why are you comparing others or yourself?
I hope and pray that y'all have an epic and blessed time of preparation for Lent. Take this week to actually think about your "Lenten Plan." If you need any ideas, I recommend checking out Catholic All Year for some coolness. May the joy of Christ fill your heart!