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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent 2016

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 chocolate
No coffee (ouch!)
No dessert
Less food for a meal, or fasting
More exercise
No iPhone games (or less)
Less Facebook (or no)
*MORE Prayer!
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 Netflix
No crafts
No nail maintenance
No pills or vitamins?
Purge belongings to charity

Other ideas:
Drive in silence
Stop multi-tasking
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?

Joshua 7:13
“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.

Romans 12:10
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

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