Small Success: Giving Up the Perfect Lent


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Now we’re in Lent and I must admit, I’ve struggled with what to do this season. I’d like to surrender my favorite vice, Diet Coke, but as shallow as it seems, I’m scared I’ll be too exhausted to surrender my personal crutch for getting through a hard morning or the long drive back from pickup after school. Then I see all these notes in my newsfeed about “not giving up chocolate” for Lent and wonder if giving up Diet Coke is the equivalent of chocolate. The goal is to grow in holiness, not to simply perform the equivalent of Catholic New Year resolutions. Giving up something physical seems rather silly, and yet it isn’t, if it is done with the right heart.

Then I saw the beginnings of a title on my newsfeed, “No Matter What You Do, You’re Gonna….” I didn’t even read the article. The Gospel of the day (Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras), said the same thing: that it is as much why we do something as what we do that marks whether something is a gift or an indulgence. The stress of giving up “Mom fuel” left. I needed to stop searching for “the perfect thing,” to get Lent right, and get to the business of Lent, knowing no matter what I do, I’m going to muck up Lent not because my heart isn’t willing, but because my heart is human. The goal of Lent is to grow in grace, to grow deeper in love with God and that comes through both spending time with God, and discovering how much you NEED/LOVE God. Failing to be able to surrender my own desires and appetites would reveal to me how much I depend upon God’s mercy, how much I need it in a way a million times more than that Diet Coke I know I’ll be craving come Friday.   Succeeding in not drinking Diet Coke will only be possible with good humor if I avail myself of God’s grace.

So success or failure, the process itself is to bring me in my weakness, me in my strength, me in all the ways I can be, closer to God and less self-reliant. Small Success Thursday is about learning to be grateful to God if you get everything done, and even if you didn’t.

Have a gerat Small Success Thursday. Have a Blessed Lent. Raising my cup of water to all of you as a toast to your small successes.

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Copyright 2016 Sherry Antonetti


About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog,

1 Comment

  1. Love your post.
    I think there is a balance in fasting and almsgiving.
    But mostly – in drawing close to the Lord, we know HE will bring us where HE wants us.
    Hugs & prayers for you this Lent.

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