I was really struggling to put my Lenten promise into words. I knew the feeling I wanted to pursue. I wanted to feel accomplished without measurements of success. I wanted to present my best effort in all things. And I wanted to release the pressure that comes from measurable goals. But I felt like there should be some all-encompassing word for that. And I have finally figured out that there isn't. And that is okay.
Last week, on Ash Wednesday, I received the weekly email from Mara Glatzel. (This mailing list is one you want to be on. Trust me.) And something she said spoke to the attitude I want to seek.
Yup. That's it. I am deserving of my best effort. The world is deserving of my best effort. My God is deserving of my best effort. And, in there somewhere, I see what I don't deserve. I don't deserve stress. I don't deserve to let myself down. I don't deserve the guilt of making unnecessary promises that I just can't keep right now.
My natural tendency is to write about my shortcomings, about what I want to fix. I want to be specific. I want to make specific goals. I want to separate best effort into all sorts of categories. I want to spend time finding some creative, woo-woo hashtag. But that isn't what Lent is about.
Lent is about sacrifice that leads to liberation. Discomfort and struggle with redemption on the other side.
Lent is about anticipating peace. And expecting a miracle.
It feels really strange to say this, but part of promising to give my best effort is actually a way to say that I am giving up struggle. Making plans - that are often not practical to implement - is where I am comfortable. The pressure of checklists is familiar to me. I want to say that I will purge a certain amount of stuff. That I will eat in a certain way. That I will spend a certain amount of time working on coaching and studying. That I will spend x amount of time in yoga every day.
I think that is what is so important for me to give up. The expectation. The pressure. The struggle.
So I am promising to give my best effort. Some days that may be the gym and my mat and bringing my lunch. Other days it may be driving through Jimmy John's (beach club - no mayo) and lots of studying and only managing to sit on my mat to say a quick prayer. Yoga has taught me that expecting the same thing from myself day in and day out just isn't reasonable.
I'm giving up perfection and the paralysis that often follows right behind.
My best effort is enough. And that is what I will give.
Happy Lent, sweet friends.
Eunoia starts a week from today! 4 modules with 5 lessons each to help you navigate through your own best efforts in welcoming power, freedom, fun, and love into your life. You can work through the program either in a 4-week plan or on your own time with an ebook. The $75 investment includes 4 text conversations with me and 2 mini-sessions scheduled as you work through the program. Click here for more information (including a video of me talking about the program in my cute Kentucky accent) and to register.