As I contemplated returning to the blog-world when Easter had passed, I thought a lot about how Lent went this year. Last year, Lent was a mess. I already covered that. And I wanted this year to be meaningful in some way, but I wasn't sure I knew how to accomplish that. The past 15 months, spiritually, have been weird for me. While I am sure I drew closer to Christ through my sorrow and grief, at times I wonder if I negated some of that growth with my spiritual apathy.
It may or may not surprise you that my prayer life has been a bit sporadic. I do the prayers with my kids (before meals and before bed) and I pray a rosary whenever I run outside. I also attend Mass every week, but how attentive and prayerful I am mostly depends on how my children behave. I'm not proud of this, it's clear that I've been slacking in the prayer department.
Even this Lent, I have had a hard time figuring out how to right this sinking ship. I picked up a Catholic book on spiritual warfare, only to fall asleep every time I tried to read it. I went to confession, but I feel like it was not the "big deal" confession usually is for me. (Note: Typically, I rush my butt to confession when I have one or more of those really horrible mortal sins...and if I don't have one or more of those, it's easy to put off confession. So that would be why confession usually is a "big deal.") I didn't make it to an extra Mass each week like I thought I might try to do. I haven't prayed a rosary with my children in a very long time.
Basically, I'm starting to feel like I'm failing at this "raising my kids Catholic" thing. My children get a lot of faith formation at school (it's why we have them in this particular Catholic school in the first place) but I am slacking at home. The more I've focused on things like losing weight and getting in shape and keeping my children in their activities, the less prayer and faith has taken the forefront of our attention. That makes me sad.
Of course I know that unless I discipline myself to pray and focus on growing in my faith, I cannot spur the same in my children. I feel somewhat at a loss as to how to fix this. Our evenings are crazy with volleyball and swim practices and Crossfit workouts for Craig and me. The weekends fill up quickly with outings, birthday parties, errands, homework and chores. It seems like every minute of every day is consumed with something and I wonder...when did I find time for this before? Because the honest truth is, I used to make time for this. I used to go to daily Mass, and I used to pray in the car, and I used to go to confession every other week.
I often wonder if some of the things I've taken on are distractions from the devil designed to take my focus away from God. I gotta be honest, though, it's hard for me to believe that getting to a healthy weight and taking care of my body (my temple) is evil. I've needed to take charge of my health for a very long time and now that I'm doing it, it's difficult for me to find fault with that. I don't believe I have an unhealthy obsession or anything. I am simply trying to get (and stay) healthy. I also have a hard time understanding how providing activities for my children (that also contribute to their health and well-being) could be "of the devil."
So, I'm kind of hitting a confusion point. How do I get my (and my family's) prayer life back on track without giving up the gains we've made in other areas? Are we doing enough? I have a hard time believing that -- but I can't figure out if I can't believe it simply because I will never feel like we are doing enough.
How do you balance the activities you sacrifice to provide for your family and yourself with the need to stay close to God?