As Catholics, our family is currently observing the church season of Lent ~ the 40 days before Easter in which we pray, fast and serve. Each year, I attempt to make this season a special one in our house. Ironically, as I once again find myself going to Pinterest for assistance in planning and scheduling this time period, I am slammed with pages of ideas to fill our days and stretch our creative abilities. The point of Lent is to slow down, simplify and reflect. Pinterest was, dare I say it, not the right option this time around.
Many people, myself included, get caught up in the sacrificial aspect of Lent. “What are you giving up? OOOOOH – no candy or pop for Lent – Wow!” It’s a bit like the resolution making part of the New Year that I suck at, also. The sacrifice – or giving something up – is supposed to help us to understand (in a very small, teeny- tiny way) all that JESUS has given up for us. That being said, my lack of Diet Coke intake for 40 days looks a wee bit pathetic. In attempts to make this season more meaningful – I am giving up other things – time wasters, jumping t0 conclusions, and being so darn hard on myself. I’m pretty certain that Jesus is glad that I am focusing on how to make myself a better person, so that in the end, I can have a better relationship with HIM.
Also, we are to be putting more of an emphasis on prayer during our daily life as we progress through Lent. I am a devotional junkie – and love to see how others write their thoughts and stories out in order to teach lessons from the Bible. Better yet, I’m reading more of the actual Bible! I am in a weekly Bible study that keeps me in the Word every day – and I need that kind of commitment, or else my lazy self will do impressively well for several days, then start to slack off. I am working on having more of a personal relationship with my God, so learning more about Him and His ways are important. I wouldn’t go to a stranger for help, guidance or love – so I want to have a bond with my Savior for that very reason. Prayer is a conversation with God – anytime, anywhere – and I need more of it in my life.
Finally, alms giving – or service without expecting acknowledgement in any form- is the third focus of Lent. Our family likes to serve together, helping to clean the church during Lent is actually something my kids look forward to – something about getting to climb ladders to dust high areas and having your own bucket is appealing when you are younger. We can also serve individually; shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk, pay for the car behind you in the drive through, baby sit without charging a fee, make a meal for a single Mom – the possibilities truly are endless. Focus on others – don’t worry as much about yourself – your desires, schedule or what you think you deserve. And, when I say you, I mean me, I’m really just writing this post for myself. But don’t get me wrong – I’m glad you’re here, too.
At the end of the day, Catholic or not, I believe that the 40 days before Easter can be a special time for all of us. Working on humility, serving others and growing in our relationships can never be a bad thing. So, however you choose to spend your days, I pray that your end results are positive! And, if you are giving up candy – or sweets in general – I feel your pain. Stay strong.