“When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way….” Jonah 3:10
We can give up candy, alcohol, coffee, go to daily mass, or attend the Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent but do we turn from our evil way? What is our particular evil way?
Those with depression, anxiety, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other mental health issue, often have one particular evil way. It is to pretend one’s lifestyle doesn’t have to change. Take the pill and go on with life as usual. By the way, people with heart or diabetic conditions often practice this same evil way.
Let me offer some ways to repent of this evil way.
- Eat healthily and or according to the doctor’s suggestion. This often entails plenty of Lenten sacrifice.
- Sleep regularly. This entails the giving up bad habits such as interminable amounts of screen time.
- Exercise. This entails giving up laziness and excuses.
- Be with people more frequently. This entails giving up isolation, which is the breeding place for negative ruminations and self-deprecating thoughts.
I like the concept of a commonsense Lent, a Lent of opportunity. This is the kind of Lent that can set the course for long-term positive change, fruit of repentance. The people of Nineveh in today’s reading didn’t give up a token sin or do some particular extra. They changed their entire way of doing things. Those were the actions of God saw.
Illustration is by Jim Padgett, Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing, creative commons (CC-BY-SA 3.0). This illustration does not represent an endorsement of this blog or post by the author or publisher.