Holy Time: Lent and Cleaning Up My Whiny Soul

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(Please join us in the Little HolyDays Lenten Link-Up by sharing your posts about this liturgical season. Linky below!)

I CAN’T do it! It’s TOO HARD!” whined my then 3-year-old son as he sat in the middle of his messy room and cried at the idea of having to clean up the toys, books, and stuffed animals scattered everywhere.

Maybe I’m asking too much, I thought. He’s clearly overwhelmed. Maybe he doesn’t know where to start. “Why don’t you just put the books on your shelf to begin and then we can figure out what to do next.”

Nooooo!” he cried. “There’s TOO MANY BOOKS. I CAN’T clean them ALL up!”

OK,” I sighed. “How about this. Start with this Dr. Seuss book. Just grab it and set it on your bookshelf.”

“This is TOO HARD!” he complained. “You do it!”

Are you serious? I thought. This is his mess. I told him exactly what to do. I’m in here helping him. All I’m asking is for him to make an attempt at doing his part. This is ridiculous! I groaned.

Fast forward a couple of days. I’m praying during my holy hour in the chapel of perpetual adoration at our parish. It’s Lent. I’m tired and discouraged. It’s just not going well. No progress is being made in cleaning up my messy soul. “Lord, I just can’t do it. It’s too hard! I’ve got all this sin all over the place and I can’t even begin to clean it up.”

Just start with one thing. Work on one small thing. Don’t be overwhelmed.

Ok, fine. But how do I even do it? How do I even start working on one thing?

Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving, child. Ask me to help you, embrace spiritual discipline, sacrifice and give.

“That’s too much! I can’t do all that!”

Well, why don’t you just start with prayer?

When would I have time for that?!”

Wake up 10 minutes before your babies. Ask me to help you with the one thing you want to focus on this Lent.

Give up 10 minutes of sleep?! Are you kidding me? Don’t you know how tired I am? I’m never going to be able to clean this up! And you won’t even help me! Waaaaaaaaaaa!

Then I remembered my little boy’s face, tears streaming down in frustration, his little fists clenched instead of making even the smallest attempt to begin the task before him. Look familiar? I closed my eyes and chuckled at myself. That’s me, right there. Refusing to make the smallest gesture toward changing. Because it’s not any fun to clean up your soul. It’s easier to say, “I can’t” and just keep sitting in the muck. You’ve told me exactly what I need to do to begin. You’re right here helping me. And here I am shaking my tiny fists in protest.

How often do I respond to God’s grace with absurd defiance? How often do I respond to God’s plan like my preschooler does to disagreeable instructions, “But, I don’t WANT to.” As if that’s a logical argument that gets me off the hook.

A daily struggle is our twice-a-day application of coconut oil to help our son’s horrible eczema. “I hate this!” he screams and writhes. “It doesn’t feel good! Don’t EVER do coconut oil again!” How often do I push away God’s grace because I’d rather carry on with a broken, raw soul, scratching at it til it bleeds instead of participating in his plan to heal it. “I can handle this just how it is! I don’t mind having a diseased soul! Just don’t ask me to get cleaned up, healed, and whole because I REALLY hate that.”

But just as I love my son too much to let him scratch his skin raw, no matter how much kicking and screaming applying a remedy takes, God loves us too much to let us be content to remain sick in our sin. This Lent we can sit and whine about how hard it is to make any progress on this path to holiness, or we can recognize our messy sin, ask for God’s grace, and start cleaning up. Let’s jump in with both feet and Our Lord right beside us. And pray for my whiny soul. Because I’m going to need all the help I can get.

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We are three Catholic bloggers who love to observe the liturgical year to deepen our families’ faith and build up the domestic church. We would love to hear about your family’s traditions during this season of Lent! Please join us in “redeeming the time” in this Year of Faith by sharing your posts.

Some topics we would be excited to read about during the Lenten season are (but not limited to!):

  • Observing Lent through Food: Simple or Vegetarian Lenten Meals/Recipes and Traditions
  • Lenten traditions, crafts and activities
  • Reflections on the liturgical seasons
  • Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
  • Teaching and Learning about the Christian Year with Children
  • St. Valentine’s Day
  • Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday)

Please be sure to visit the other wonderful hosts, Molly Makes Do (she’s hosting a great giveaway today!) and the amazing mother/daughter duo Dualing Moms, to see what they have to say about the beginning of their lenten season!

This link up will be up until midnight on February 15th.

We will highlight some of our favorite links on our blogs, FB, Twitter, and on a Little HolyDays Pinterestboard.
This link up is a way in which we plan on exploring and deepening our Catholic faith, but we would really love to hear from bloggers of all denominations.

We welcome you to share your own fasts, feasts, and celebrations that fall within this season.

As moderators of this link up, we will reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic posts as we see fit, in order to maintain a kind and positive atmosphere.

So, here’s what you do:

1. Click the linky below to add your post to the Little HolyDays link up.

2. Link your post to one of the Little HolyDays hosts (text link or use the Little HolyDays image at the top) so your readers can find the other great links! 

We can’t wait to read your posts and get inspired by your traditions!


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Comments

  1. Christy says

    Great post. And so true! Too true!
    My comment though is in regards to your son’s eczema. My son had bleeding eczema almost from birth til about 2. At that point, I found an article on pubmed stating that dairy is the leading cause of eczema. I was desperate enough to overhaul my kitchen, removing even the most hidden sourcesof dairy. It wasn’t easy at first but gradually he stopped bleeding, then stopped itching, and eventually healed completely. It was certainly worthwhile to cure his skin. His eczema never returned as long as I was vigilant about reading labels. I’ve seen it work for several friends too.

    I can also recommend my ND in Arizona. They do phone appointments and prescribe homeopathy. I’ve seen dramatic changes in my family’s health since starting with them a few months ago. Let me know if you’d like their contact. They provide a free consult to see if you think it’s a good match for you

    • Haley says

      Were you ever able to reintroduce dairy? My son is highly allergic to gluten (and vigilantly keeping him away from it does make the flare ups less frequent). I’ve tried cooking gluten-free AND dairy-free before and it is….whew. More than I can handle? Definitely overwhelming!

  2. says

    Great post!! I have felt that way so often. With Lent rolling up, I had to get a handle on my daily prayer life. I literally just got done writing a blog post about daily prayers when I opened my email to find this post waiting for me. It’s so nice to know I am not the only one who struggles with the ‘don’t wanna’s’ and ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’s’ ;) lol.

    • Haley says

      The Rosary? Ain’t nobody got time for that! :) haha. Loved your post. And, perhaps not surprisingly, I discovered that I DO have time for it, haha.

  3. Becca says

    Hi Haley,

    I stumbled across your blog this morning, and can I just say that I love it?
    It’s nice to find Catholics who blog! I loved reading you and your husband’s conversion story, as well as all of your latest posts. I am what I suppose most people call a “Cradle Catholic”, and I thank God everyday for the fact that I was raised so by my parents. But to tell you the truth, I am jealous! Our priest once said, “You’ll rarely find someone with stronger faith than a convert.” And it is true! I am looking forward to following your blog.

    Becca

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