I have done lots of different challenges for Lent over the past 10 years. Last year, some of you may remember that I used the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker to give up different things each week for the 7 weeks. (You can find the first blog post here.)
Lent is typically aa Catholic holiday to celebrate, but I really appreciate the idea of preparing my heart for Easter. A friend of mine posted about Lent on Facebook this past weekend, and I enjoyed the post. It talked a lot about ways to deny yourself during Lent. It had these five questions to begin:
1. What habits do I have that get in the way of a healthy spiritual life?
2. What distracts me from living a deeper interior life?
3. Where do I lack balance?
4. What takes an inordinate amount of time out of my day?
5. What am I overly attached to?
An answer to these questions might be a good indication of what to do to live Lent well. I've sacrificed various things over the years- such as chocolate, coffee, sweets, etc., I liked how the article talked about being creative with your ideas, and ask yourself the question: "Will this sacrifice help me love God more, forget myself more, and love my neighbor better?"
I found the above questions quite convicting, but I enjoyed other ideas in the article. I liked the idea to make a daily sacrifice to become closer to God.
Here are things I wrote down to do:
No coffee (ouch!)
Less food for a meal, or fasting
No iPhone games (or less)
Less Facebook (or no)
More Bible Study (not just reading a devotional)
More service/ chores
Write a letter or a card to friend or family
Call a friend or family
Less heat/ blankets (or no heated blanket at night!)
No car radio or music
No nail maintenance
No pills or vitamins?
Purge belongings to charity
Drive in silence
Walk slower- be present in the moment
Give up watching sports
Or to deny one of your senses on a different day of the week
Hearing- no music, phone on mute
Seeing- stop checking phone or computer for info constantly
Touch- take a lukewarm shower, not using the most comfortable clothes or blankets
Smell- dealing with those uncomfortable scents of life without complaint
Taste- giving up sugar, salt, a favorite condiment, fasting from a meal for the sake of a friend's salvation
You can read the whole article that I referenced above here.
So that is what I will be doing this year, a daily sacrifice. My first sacrifice today is no chocolate. It may be harder tonight at dessert time! What will you be doing for Lent in 2016?
“Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.