Every year for Lent, we try to commit to giving up something or actively do something in the hopes that it will spur us to become better disciples. We do better in some years than others.
During Lent of the year that I moved to Arkansas, we gave up watching TV. I was very resistant to the idea at first because I had really enjoyed watching TV, especially cable news. I was a TV news junkie. After Lent that year, I found that I really don't need to watch TV or even want to watch TV any more. And even now we still don't watch TV at home. There's nothing good on anyway. The few occasions when we do watch TV at someone else's house, I'm bored by it very quickly, and I especially get really annoyed at the commercials. Looking back on that Lent, I'm glad we gave up watching TV and I'm glad we've stuck to it.
Last year, we tried giving up sloth for Lent. In other words, we wanted to become more physically active. We signed up for membership at the local community center, but that idea didn't go far. I haven't set foot in that community center since we signed up. I'm hoping to change that this year, not for Lent, but in general.
This year, I decided to give up elevators at work. I know this is not much, but it's a first, small, and realistic step that I hope will gradually turn into a lifelong commitment to physical fitness that's more successful than last year. I think some things are better done cold turkey, like stop watching TV. Others, like physical fitness, are better done gradually. This is especially true for someone like me, whose current level of physical activity involves walking from the parking garage to the office.
On the first day of Lent, I almost failed my commitment right away. Out of pure habit, I headed straight for the elevator banks, pushed the button, and almost stepped in when after the ding and the elevator doors opened. But I caught myself, turned, and headed towards the stairs. I work on the third floor, so that's three flights of stairs (the entrance is on a ground floor) at least once a day. I've been doing good so far in avoiding the elevators. The morning climbs are the toughest right now because I've just walked in from the parking garage and I'm usually parked at the far end. I'm also wearing a heavy coat and carrying my bag and lunch.
I hope that when Lent ends this year, I will have never taken an elevator ride at work and the morning climb will be a breeze. More importantly, I pray that better personal physical fitness will translate to a healthier lifestyle in general and a healthier walk in faith.