Nearly every year, I feel as though I’m not doing enough to celebrate Lent. Other people seem to have profoundly meaningful Lenten experiences, while I usually arrive at Easter thinking, “I didn’t do much with those 40 days, did I?”
This is why I found myself posting a Facebook message on Ash Wednesday, asking for ideas of what I should do for Lent.
I got all kinds of suggestions. Some involved adopting a new habit, such as praying a daily rosary. Others involved giving something up, such as junk food or social media. (As a high school teacher, my favorite suggestion was to give up grading.) They were great ideas, but nothing seemed exactly right.
A day later, I had a great idea. I decided that for Lent, I would embrace what I call the Path of Most Resistance. At least once each day, I am consciously, deliberately choosing to do the thing that I don’t feel like doing.
Following the Path of Most Resistance means I’ve stretched myself in most areas of my life: the physical, the familial, and the spiritual. It means I’ve chosen not to have jelly beans when I really craved them. It means I’ve gone to exercise class even when I didn’t feel like it.
When my 7-year-old asked to go out and throw a football with me, I said yes even though I really wanted to be alone and surf the Internet. Instead of settling in front of the TV, I’ve gone back to my quiet bedroom for a half-hour of prayer and silence with God.
Every day it’s something different, and the variety is helpful. It makes me constantly mindful of all the little growth opportunities that are right in front of me. I’m a big believer that there are infinite opportunities for holiness in the humdrum of daily existence, and this Lenten practice affirms that.
I’m also learning that I tend to stubbornly resist what I know is most good for me. I always get so much out of my quiet sessions at the prayer desk in my room, but when I’m tired from a day of teaching and mothering and the television is right in front of me, moving to the back of the house seems like a herculean effort.
But when I turn off the TV and turn on the prayer, I come away renewed and refreshed. Praying itself doesn’t take any work at all; it’s only that first step onto the path of most resistance that is hard.
In fact, I’m finding that what looks like a difficult, steep path full of boulders is not so bad once you start walking it. Offering to do a chore for my husband is inherently rewarding. Resisting those jelly beans means I get to avoid that “Blech, I had too much sugar” feeling.
Football on the lawn is always more fun than I think it’s going to be, and I’m getting much better at catching the ball (though my wobbly passes will still keep me out of the NFL). I also get to see the delight on my son’s face when I say yes to his request. I can share his joy as he dives onto the ground, laughing as he rolls onto his side with the ball held tightly in his arms.
Even when Lent is over, I’m going to remember this truth: the path of most resistance is usually the path with the most rewards.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of “Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood.” She blogs at http://www.RandomActsofMomness.com.
Category: The Last Word