Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Growing Pains of Adult-hood (and How I Failed Lent)

11:50 AM
This was the first year I had ever participated in Lent. I was very much looking forward to, oddly enough. I think I anxious for the discipline of fasting to translate into the discipline of spiritual growth. I started out real strong. I was praying more and reading chapters of Scripture daily and journaling regularly.

But as the days of Lent wore on, nothing was happening. I wasn’t watching TV by myself anymore, but I began filling my time with other just-as-useless activities instead of focusing on spiritual growth. I expected for this fast to push me towards a regular time with God. But instead, I just became annoyed that I was so behind on LOST and missed the delivery of Jim & Pam’s baby on The Office. And I became frustrated. And quit.

Did I just fail my first Lent experience? And, am I that addicted to my TV that I can’t turn it off for 40 days? These questions hurt to ask myself. I’m preparing to be a missionary for crying out loud! My time with God should be consistent at the very least. Or did I put too much pressure on this season of Lent? Was I expecting too much for these 40 days? Or maybe I just realized things about myself that I wasn’t expecting to realize.

One area I feel completely overwhelmed by is the area of discipline. I was counting on a 40-day fast to miraculously transform my lack of discipline. And, shockingly, it didn’t. it’s not Lent’s fault. It’s my own. My greatest strength [thanks, StrengthFinders] is Adaptability. I’m easy-going to the hilt. And while this can work to my advantage [i.e., moving to Cambodia!], it can also work to my disadvantage. By being so flexible, I don’t set anything in concrete. Whether it’s financially, spiritually, physically, or intellectually, I struggle setting hard and fast achievements for myself. And if I do make a feeble attempt to set them, I barely give myself the chance to meet them, before giving up.

I’ve survived so far with my lack of discipline. Or perhaps I’m finally in a stage of life that doesn’t force discipline upon me [high school, college, etc…]. Either way, I don’t think I can continue like this. The time has come for real responsibility, real commitment, and real discipline. Am I becoming a real adult?

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!


The fact that you are identifying it and see a need for change solidifies it...welcome to adulthood. It isn't fancy but it is feisty.

Pamela said...

Joy, I've loved reading your blog. It's on my google reader and I always get excited whenever you put up a new post.

As far as lent goes, please know that you are not alone. Giving up something for 40 days like tv, eating out, starbucks or any other habitual act is by no means an easy task. So many people I know that started lent and started strong eventually broke it at one point, including myself. By recognizing that this is an area in your spiritual life that needs work, it shows a ton of insight and maturity. And yes, it does mean you are growing up :)

Keep up the blogging!

Joy Engdahl said...

Thanks for the encouragement guys! I like having a place where I can process and articulate what I'm dealing with. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting :) I appreciate it!!!