I put a lot of pressure on myself and prayed very seriously about what God wanted to use to speak to my heart during this season. I wanted my focus to be drawn to Him, not to my self, not to what I was missing. It took me until the night before Lent started to make the decision of what to forgo. This may sound silly to some but what I have given up is... using my dishwasher.
I was reenergized and my dishwashing/prayer time was looked forward to...for a day or so. Then LIFE once again "got in the way" and another round of teething started, napping took a turn for the worse and I began to loath not using the dishwasher. I remained faithful in action but certainly not in attitude or stature of the heart. I was hitting an all time low, with dishes piling up higher and higher. I would get half way through and get distracted by something "more pressing". The whole time at the sink I was thinking about what a difficult task it was, how little time I had to do it, maybe I'll just forget it and go back to using the dishwasher. It's not that big of a deal, right? In my heart I knew it was more important than I was trying to make it seem. This was time that was valued by God. He loves when I pray and build my relationship with Him.
By day ten, Sunday, I was avoiding the kitchen so that I wouldn't be reminded of what I wasn't doing (ha!). I guess my husband could tell that I was getting tired of the task because he encouragingly reminded me that Sundays were a day of REST and that for one day a week it would be okay to use the dishwasher. Praise God! I seriously was overwhelmed and overjoyed with the realization that even in the minutest speck of a "trial" God doesn't give us more than we can handle!
As I loaded that dishwasher on Sunday I began praying with a lightened heart, thanking God for providing a break, for understanding the weakness of his created being (me), for helping me stay faithful thus far, even if it was just in action for a few days, and for all that he has taught me in just this simple everyday task. I may not take every Sunday off from washing dishes (I don't want to use it as a loophole), but I was so glad to be reminded of God's grace to me this past week!
I started the week fresh, remembering the purpose of fasting is to draw closer to God. I have truly been surprised at what a struggle it has been to stay focused on prayer with a right attitude over these past 12 days. After my day of rest, I am now glad for the upcoming 30 days and look forward to what God will show me now that my attitude has been adjusted.