Since we’re on the topic of Lent, and Ash Wednesday just passed, I found this piece I wrote last year for Jun, for his email distribution list. I find it funny how the thing I wrote really happened, and how many emails and text messages I received that day because of this thing. True, love life is a big thing for everyone, even if a lot of people deny it. :P
Anyway, this was posted on Godchicks, but since the site is kind of hibernating right now, I’m reposting it here for everyone’s…I don’t know, enjoyment? Haha. I hope you guys will be blessed with this one as I was blessed writing and reading it. :)
My Lenten Sacrifice
(March 9, 2007)
Two years ago, I gave up boys for Lent.
My Lenten sacrifice usually revolves around meat, chocolates, watching TV and texting when I finally had a cellphone. But Iâ€™ve never really given up boys. For one thing, Iâ€™m not really boy-crazy, although I tend to get fixated on one of my â€œcurrentsâ€. Thoughts about this â€œcurrentâ€ may not be physically lustful, but theyâ€™re distracting nonetheless.
So one Lent, I decided to give my â€œcurrentâ€ up.
But how did I come to my decision?
There was this guy I started liking a couple of months before 2004 ended. Truth be told, I really wasnâ€™t interested in him before, plus I just came from a really heartbreaking one-way relationship (by one-way relationship, I mean: I like the guy, guy doesnâ€™t like me back, I hoped the guy liked me back SOMEHOW, but he never did in the first place. Oops, there goes a piece of my heart). I really didnâ€™t want to start liking anyone else; I just want to focus on God and my studies. Then I met this guy and my friends seem to think it was fun to tease me to him and before I knew it, I realized that I actually really like the guy.
But unlike the one before him, I was more careful this time. I didnâ€™t want the same thing to happen again, so I kept my distance. Yes, weâ€™re friends, but I was careful not to bring any meaning into this friendship. He was unbelievably nice, funny, cuteâ€¦and what do you know, he used to want to be a priest! My â€œspiritualâ€ eyes were seeing â€œMan of God!â€ in neon lights flashing all around him that I had unknowingly let my heart become attached to him. I still kept my distance, but I started seeing all his good characters and pray that if he doesnâ€™t end up with me, then just let him go back to his vocation (okay, that wasnâ€™t what I really thought then. What I really prayed was that I donâ€™t want to be an obstruction to Godâ€™s plan for him. If He wants him to be a priest, then so be it. It would be okay for me, since he would be committing his life and be celibate for God, and thereâ€™s no â€œcompetition.â€ Not the nicest thing to think I know.).
And what was the ultimate â€œdream dateâ€ I want to have with him? To go to mass. Yes, to attend and receive the Holy Eucharist with him. Sounds good enough, eh? Not your typical â€œdateâ€. This should work out now!
It was the week of Ash Wednesday, and I was praying to God about this â€œdateâ€. I asked Him if He would please let the guy go to Ash Wednesday mass with me, and I will really, really be happy. But I also invited him to a mass that was sponsored by our organization the day before. He told me heâ€™d come, and I was really expecting him to be there only to be disappointed to know that he forgot. Man, was I crushed.
He made it up to me the next day, though. He was the first one to ask me what time the Ash Wednesday mass was and told me to wait for him because weâ€™d go there together. He even stopped by our booth to remind me about it! Of course, I was all hidden giggles and kilig at that but I had to be in control lest I wanted him to know.
And so off to mass we went, together with another friend, and during the mass, I suddenly realized how God answered my first prayer, about us going to mass together on Ash Wednesday. That sure made me smile. Come Communion time, as soon as I received the Body of Christ, a still small voice spoke to my heart: â€œWhat would you sacrifice for Lent?â€
As soon as I heard that, I looked at the guy praying beside me and then a mental conversation popped into my mind:
Me: No, Lord, you canâ€™t be asking me toâ€¦
God: Iâ€™m not saying anything.
Me: But Lord, why him? Why canâ€™t it be someone else? Something else? Chocolate? Internetâ€¦no,wait, I canâ€™t give that up, I need that for school. Texting? Lord? You know Iâ€™ve never felt this happy before andâ€”
God: My dear daughter, Iâ€™m asking YOU what you will be giving up for Lent. Iâ€™m not asking you to give him up. It will be on your choice alone.
Me: But why do I feel like if I donâ€™t offer this one up, anything else offered wouldnâ€™t be pleasing You.
God: My princess, as long as it comes from your heart, I will be pleased. I am giving you the power to decide what to give up for Lent this year.
And so that was why I still ended up giving up the boy. It was hard. Not only because I liked the guy, but also because I really didnâ€™t know how I was supposed to give him up. Should I avoid him? Should I stop talking to him? Stop texting him? But what about our friendship? How am I really letting him go? What exactly am I giving up?
Looking back at that moment now, two years later, I smile and remember how I struggled to keep him on Godâ€™s altar as my offering. I always wanted to steal him away from Him, to claim Him as my own, but God would always send me little reminders (that comes in the form of a little ache in the heart) that make me give the guy back to Him. Itâ€™s not easy; I always thought of what if, what ifâ€¦and it hurts to know the fact that even after Lent, Iâ€™d still have to continue giving him up.
But the real lesson I learned in this sacrifice is, itâ€™s not about killing your feelings for the guy. Itâ€™s not about not talking to him, avoiding him or any of those things I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Although those things I mentioned can be part of the sacrifice, that isnâ€™t the point at all. Itâ€™s acknowledging that you have these feelings but still choosing to look and focus on The One who can not only return the affections I have for the guy but give so much more. Let me stress that: SO MUCH MORE. Itâ€™s accepting that you like the guy, but proclaiming and believing that you love God more than you like human. Itâ€™s telling God, â€œLord, I like him. I really, really do. But I love You more. So I will choose to love You even if it means I have to let this guy and my feelings for him go.â€
Judy McDonald of Lifeteen.com says: â€œLent is not about giving things up and making those around [you] miserable. Its about looking at your life and seeing what is keeping you from Jesus. This Lent I am looking at the marvel that is [Judy] and honestly asking, what in my life is keeping me from getting closer to Jesus?â€ Iâ€™m not saying you should all give up your crushes or love lives this Lent, of course not. But if that guy or girl you really REALLY like is keeping you from focusing on God, then maybe itâ€™s time for you to stop, do a feelings check and re-focus yourself on Him at this particular season. And Iâ€™m sure by the end of this Lenten season, youâ€™ll see and feel things a lot differently.
Have a meaningful Lenten season. Be blessed!