Happy first day of Lent! Lent is a time of 40 days where Christians fast, sacrifice, examine their consciences, and add habits that help them grow closer to God as they prepare for Easter. It is our time in the desert – 40 days – replicating Jesus’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. What was once a Catholic practice, has now been widely accepted in many Christian denominations and traditions.
This year Lent feels different, and maybe a little arbitrary. We have given up and sacrificed so much over the past year. We spent a lot of time examining our lives – what else did we had to do during lockdown and quarantine? Many of us spent a lot of the past year relying on our faith to get us through these difficult times. Is there really more that needs to be given up? What more can we do? Well, probably a lot if we really think about it.
Whether you believe in the spiritual aspects of Lent or not, this can be a great time to do a 40 day reset. What can you do to grow mentally, spiritually, or physically over the next 40 days? How can you spread love and kindness over these 40 days?
In our house we are all examining our technology usage. The boys are giving up Youtube and using the time they would have spent on it to read the Bible and do Devotions. Mike is giving up Facebook and Twitter. The girls and I are adding a daily Lenten devotion and are committing to writing in their gratitude journals daily. Everyone is committing to putting the phones and iPads down and having real conversations with each other.
Lent can be a time to focus on improving your health and practicing self discipline. In years past we have given up meat, given up soda, given up sweets, or given up alcohol. What poor eating or drinking habits have you adopted over quarantine? These 40 days could be a good reset into healthier habits… and maybe a start to losing the Quarantine 15+. One year I committed to exercising for 40 days straight. It was hard, but it made a huge impact on my emotional, mental, and physical health. This Lent can be about getting physically healthy.
Lent can also be a time to focus on growing spiritually. You can add in new habits like a daily devotional. I am really loving my daily devotional – Promises for your Everyday Life devotional by Joyce Meyer. I have also added in the 40 Days of Lent devotional to my daily routine. I like to read my devotions at night as I am laying in bed and reflecting on the day. Some like to start their morning with a devotional. Find the routine that works best for you. The habit you start doesn’t have to be just for 40 days. You could commit to reading the whole Bible in a year. The Bible app has a lot of awesome reading plans and devotionals that are free. It will also send you a reminder daily- which is super helpful!
Lent can also be a time of alms giving. Giving of money is not the only way we give alms. You can also give of your time and talent. It can be a time where you focus on spreading kindness and doing acts of service in the community. This is a great time to adopt a Senior, volunteer at the Food Bank or a soup kitchen, or do something for a neighbor or friend.
I hope you all have an amazing Lent full of personal growth and making the world a kinder, more loving place. I’d love to hear what your goals are for the next 40 days.