I didn’t want to write about this Lent until I was well into it so that I could give an honest appraisal of my efforts. Also, it’s embarrassing.

There are certain things you can confess in public: lying, cheating, stealing, failure in any spiritual discipline. But I am about to publicaly confess something much more damning.

I do not pick up after my dogs.

Louise, I can hear you gasping all the way from Canada. In fact, it was your post on this subject that started needling me. I didn’t do that, and I knew I should. I had excuses, rationalizations.

When Fat Tuesday came, I still hadn’t decided what to give up for Lent. I was on the EFX, listening to an NPR “Science Friday” podcast about the evils of sugar. And I started to think, “I don’t eat desserts, but I could eliminate some sugar in my diet.”

And I heard the voice of God in my spirit: “If you want to do it, do it, but don’t do it for Me.”

Yeah, He knows. I’m someone who started dabbling in anorexia at the age of 6. I have no story of deliverance–only a slow movement in the same direction.

But picking up dog poop for Lent? Really?

Then I remembered an iconic story from Antioch Community Church in Waco. It’s the story of when the pastor, Jimmy Seibert, got serious about following God, and he wanted to go anywhere, do anything. He sought the counsel of an elder who said–wait for it–“Make your bed.” Jimmy wasn’t sure he heard right, but the word of the Lord was “make your bed.” If he couldn’t follow that simple daily discipline, well then, he wasn’t going to go anywhere or do anything.

So, I have been diligently bringing my bags each morning when I walk Polo and Clover. Polo is too dainty to poop anywhere but in her secluded spot in the yard, but Clover does not have a shred of modesty. The first day I forgot to bring the bag and had to go back later to retrieve her deposit. After that, Clover never pooped again.