Ash Wednesday.  This year for Lent I have decided to give up Facebook.  Facebook for me has been an amazing way for me to allow my family, and close friends to be a part of our day to day lives and the pure joy I live with that are my children…but it also has had a negative influence on my life.  I get my feelings hurt about silly things, and feel left out.  I get angry by passive aggressive comments.  And it is a huge time sucker. HUGE.

So for 40 days I’m not signing in.  And I’m ok with that. I may have shared this before…but when I was in high school I gave up gum, and have only chewed it twice since and detest it now.  One year I gave up matching socks and my socks today still never match, and suddenly it’s the style.  I’ve given up celebrity gossip(twice). I’ve given up putting myself down.  I’ve given up lattes(still the hardest to date).  I’ve always been tempted to give up a “food” thing, but I know myself that it wouldn’t be a healthy fast, for the right reasons. But it’s a real sacrifice to give up Facebook.

Instead I want to spend the next 40 days focusing on the things around me, the people, the experiences.  Nothing hurts my feelings more then being with someone and having them text the whole time, or have them looking at their phone.  So I’m going to work on being present.  I did it over the summer as a fast and it was a great experience.  I’m looking forward to this time.  I’m also looking forward some devotionals we are doing as a family, a bible study I’m going to be leading, and once again focusing on the real stuff, like living my life, not “liking” everyone else’s lives.

Recently one of my children went through, and is still experiencing, a very hard experience with someone in their life.  When I met with this person, to discuss the situation, what really bothered me when it all was said and done was how often they used the word “I” and “Me.” How every situation and circumstance came back to how it affected “them.” Nothing about the issue that was about my child, the real reason we were meeting.

Later as I thought about the situation and then my own life, I thought about how many things I make all about Me.  Of course as a parent I’m always prone to think about my kids first.  But I really think a lot about myself, especially when it comes to my own self worth that I’m sure affects other parts of my life — and I want to work on that, and really work on not letting the small stuff cloud my mind, focusing on the things that really matter.

I think sometimes when we are so focused on ourselves, we do things that truly hurt other people without thinking about the ramifications.  Like starting a discussion, using hurtful – pointed accusations but giving the other person no room to share their own take without sounding offensive.  By asking for advice, but using the advice against the person later.  By letting our own issues, become our children’s issues. By not advocating for our families, because we are afraid of looking like a “bitch.” By saying yes, even though we are exhausted and over extended because we don’t want to let people down. The list goes on and on…

And it’s always all about Me. Even yesterday I got jealous of my own husband for getting to work out when I couldn’t run because we had a sick child.  Really?! I can’t rejoice in his self care?  That is not ok.

So, this Lent, I’m working on just that.  Because it’s not just about me.  And after the experiences I’ve had even with the circumstance and my son, I’ve realized I need to be present. So I’ve had to make some hard decisions. I’ve had to step back from what in many ways was a dream job, to be more present to my family, even when that meant letting someone down.  I’ve had to say yes to certain things, and no to a few others. I’ve had to step back and decide to not run a Full Marathon because I can’t afford to be away from my kids this much.

Ash Wednesday is the start of a 40 Day journey toward the death of our Savior,  and a sacrifice He made for us.  And what came after…it was all about Us.  It is about much more then is right here. It is about so much more then the day to day crap that bogs us down. It is about eternity.  And I believe that, with my whole heart.

And this time with my kids, this age, as hard as some things have been, is also a mystical -magical journey…there is as much mystery in Parenting as there is heartache, and equal the amount of joy.  And like Lent…before I know it…this time will be a memory.