It's interesting how when people find out you're Catholic, they love to ask you what you're giving up for Lent, then tease you over it. I get extra slack from my non-Christian friends because I don't give up the typical option of sweets, caffeine, or social media. They tell me I'm doing it wrong (shaking my head). I take the Lenten season and use it to (hopefully) better myself as a person and get closer to God. While giving up things like candy or carbs is definitely a challenge, and I respect anyone who chooses to do that, I want to give something up that is distancing me from my faith.
This Lenten season, I decided to give up on giving into my temper. In other words, I'm dedicating this time to working on my patience. I know that to many people, it wouldn't look like I have much of a temper. That's because I tend to save my more ugly moments for those closest to me. I think my family and close friends can vouch for that. I can go off on rants and rave about things that won't really matter in ten minutes.
This last Sunday, in the Gospel of John, we heard the story of Jesus chasing merchants out of the temple. It's odd for us to think of Jesus as able to lose His temper and get angry, but it only goes to show that He was indeed both divine and very human. He had the same emotions that we do. Something my priest said this weekend really stuck with me. He said, "This story of Jesus in the temple proves that everyone gets angry and is tempted to release it through hatred. Jesus shows us that some things are worth getting angry over, but we need to use the anger we feel in a positive way in order to make a positive change." Jesus knew that his anger was valid, and once his temper started to flare, He knew He needed to find a way to articulate those feelings instead of losing it completely.
This is a lesson I'm trying to bring into my life during Lent. There are some things in life that will make us angry. It's important to note which ones are worthwhile and which won't matter in the long run. For those that do matter long term, I need to focus on communicating in an effective and positive way instead of unleashing my inner-monster. When we lash out, we don't gain anything. All we do is hurt peoples' feelings and create a toxic environment around us. We can get closer to our ultimate goals when we speak in a comfortable and positive manner about things that are valuable in our lives.
I encourage everyone to take this on during Lent, and work on your inner-self. The ultimate goal of this season is to show appreciation for Jesus' sacrifice and work towards being the best versions of ourselves possible. Let's take this time to remember who the ultimate superhero is, and try to be closer to Him and more like Him daily.