Although I’m not a particularly religious person, I usually give something up for Lent. I’m not really sure why. I guess I like the idea of doing something JC did. I’m a big fan.
Generally I give something up that won’t get in my way too much. One year I gave up McDonalds. Another year: television.
I know, I know. Perhaps I’m missing the point of Lent, but based on Catholicism and much of Christianity as it’s practiced these days, isn’t it all pretty much about making yourself uncomfortable and unhappy?
Why should Lent be the only time you’re cheerless? Let’s spread that around a bit. Misery, after all, is always entertaining house guests.
This didn’t dawn on me until I decided on a whim to give up something that might be more difficult to stop: being cruel to myself. I decided to give up making myself unhappy for Lent.
We all have our inner critics roaming around in our brains, our guts and occasionally even our voice boxes. Sometimes they work for good, keeping us out of trouble.
You probably shouldn’t eat all the pastries. Sharing is caring, after all.
But mostly, and especially if you grew up in a Baptist, Catholic or Jewish home, they succeed at making you feel bad about yourself for pretty much anything you do. You work in a corporate job, then you’re a sell-out. You’re an artist living paycheck to paycheck: you’re worthless. You can’t win, really.
So in the true spirit of Lent, I gave up something that was difficult for me — something that I relied on pretty much every day. I’m talking no matter what I do, I don’t allow myself to feel bad about it. I don’t listen to my inner critic. And I talk back.
I laugh at it when it tells me I look terrible. I look in the mirror and blow myself kisses.
I scoff when it says I’m an alcoholic for drinking that second glass of wine. JC certainly had no problems with the stuff. (I love the water into wine miracle. Frickin’ genius.)
I kick its ass when it tells me I’m no good and haven’t done a thing with my life. Then I walk into my job at a non-profit organization and kick some ass.
Where did this inner critic come from? Why on the Goddess’ green earth would I say these things about myself?
I have a hunch that it came from years of living in a repressed environment that said I shouldn’t be proud, or boast, or even talk about my success. What I should do is be better. Smarter. Prettier. Nicer. Perfect.
I’m sick of parents using religion to destroy young minds.
I’m tired of people who say they follow the doctrine of a man who said this:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Children can understand when something is wrong, but their parents are their gods. If you tell them they’re mistaken enough times, they split into pieces and lose touch with their soul, with their truth.
But the one thing I think we all have in common is that we pray for someone like Jesus Christ to come to Earth. I would love to see someone stand in front of these people in their temples and turn their money-changing tables over.
While there are plenty of people accusing the church of covering up sexual abuse, I think this type of tyranny is child abuse. No one should have to suffer this kind of assault on their soul.
I encourage all those who are engaged in this warfare against their children to stop. It probably won’t be easy because it’s such a habit, but it’s also a pattern. Most likely, you were abused like this as a child yourself.
It may be necessary to seek counseling. Don’t be ashamed. Be proud that you can change. Accept love and tolerance as Jesus would, instead of spitting the words out like they’re some sort of curse.
I believe that anyone can change and evolve upward, toward the soul’s natural tendency of light. It’s tough when you spend years so far removed from it. It may feel unnatural, or even evil. I know it took me a few weeks to get reacquainted with mine.
For those who take my challenge to heart, I pray for you. Change is difficult, but it is attainable. For those who scoff at my words, I love you as Jesus does. Just don’t expect me to be your friend. I gave that up for Lent.