If you are like me, you are running out of some of the steam and fervor for Lent. You approached Ash Wednesday with gusto and probably had a list. Maybe you gave up chocolate or beer. Or perhaps you vowed to improve your spiritual life by attending church more frequently or praying more. Or maybe you decided to focus on almsgiving by performing works of charity.
All those decisions are good, but often they lead to frustration. Right now, maybe your resolve has faltered and your vow to give up sweets has weakened. I know by the third week of Lent I begin to wonder if a chocolate muffin is really a sweet. Isn’t it more of a breakfast food? I say.
My Lenten prayer book often sits on my nightstand, waiting to be read. I have actually done some cramming during Holy Week. I try to bring non-perishable items into church — but often forget. My Rice Bowl is assembled — but not filled with change. Each Lent I have always wanted to do more and be better. I even tried giving up coffee one Lent. (My co-workers said they were the ones who suffered that season.) I wonder why I cannot be better at this.
So how is your Lent going? Maybe this is a great one. But personally, I’ve had many more Lents where I feel I am not doing enough and think I should just give up on it altogether. But I will not. Nor should you. No matter what resolution has slipped, there is hope. This Lent, even if there are just a few weeks left, you might want to try something different.
It does not involve much time or effort. You just might like this “less is more” approach to get you to Easter. Each morning say out loud: “I am enough.” You will probably feel a bit silly. I know I do sometimes. But I feel it is a message that needs to be said and heard by all. If you can, the preferred way to do it would be in front of a mirror. Try saying it right after you brush your teeth. If possible, repeat it three times. It’s okay if you just say it as you put on your shoes.
Ideally, you can say this each night, too. Sometimes, I just mumble it to myself right before going to sleep. But it will be good enough because, after all, that is the point.
This is not some sort of psycho-babble suggestion. Nor is it encouraging people to be self-satisfied slugs. Indeed, go to confession, and keep trying to make sacrifices throughout Lent. But this is a needed, positive message. It can be a great lead-up to Good Friday where Christians profess Jesus died for them yet most of us might whisper, “even me?”
And in a world where all of us wonder if we are good enough, smart enough, holy enough, impressive enough and loved enough, we need to realize we are enough. And in the world where social media posts make us feel inadequate, it’s good to believe: “I am enough.”
When I say those words out loud it affirms for me the belief that I am a child of God and loved by him. It means that I am enough right now — not after I have lost ten pounds or received 10 likes on a post. It means that I have a basic, intrinsic value as I am. And it means I am good enough — even as I eat that chocolate muffin.
And it means that if every day for the rest of Lent I say “I am enough,” then I just might be able to believe it on Good Friday. I will feel worthy and enough as I profess my belief that Jesus died for me — just as I am.