I love the season of Lent and taking this 40 days to repent, fast and prepare for the most amazing day of the year as Christians... Easter which is Resurrection Sunday!!!
I love the practice of adding something that will draw me closer to Jesus through this season and taking something away that will draw me closer to Jesus...
The entire point of this season is do what draws us closer to the Lord... Being in His word is top priority. Let me know what new habits you’re creating? What sacrifices are you making? It helps us all when we share!!
Religious denomination aside, we all have the opportunity to use the 40 days of Lent to challenge ourselves to be better!
Adding daily something of value? Silence, prayer, gratitude, sacrifices?
We can use this time to refocus on what we are really called to do and be? To repair relationships, to cut back on what distracts us and to realign with our direction?
The point is, this is the season for us to push ourselves to be the best versions of who God created us to be. One day, one habit, one opportunity to delay gratification and one opportunity to deny temptation at a time.
What is Lent?
“Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism.
Lent lasts for 40 days and it begins the day following Shrove Tuesday, on Ash Wednesday. There are actually 46 days in between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, but Sundays during Lent on not considered to be “prescribed.”
Why do we give up things for Lent?
Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or volunteering and giving of themselves for others. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.”
WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY: ( This is not a requirement of Christians to go to a service however,
“The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance.)
In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance.
Now, the ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many people that receive them will leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.
HERE ARE 10 IDEAS THAT MAY INSPIRE US ON WHAT TO GIVE UP AND WHAT TO ADD DAILY FOR THIS LENT SEASON:
1. Don’t buy anything that you don’t NEED.
If you can live without it, you don’t need it. Give it up for Lent. Put the money that you would have spent into a jar. You will be surprised at how quickly you build up your savings. I even wrote a book about how to save money (Seeing how much we can save so quickly led us to do it year-round. It was how we saved enough money for me to quit teaching and be a stay at home mom).
Tip: Once you see how much you saved after the 40 days, split it into two groups: saving & donating. Don’t spend it. You worked too hard!
2- Throw Away 40 things for 40 days
Every day, you walk around your house and collect 40 things to donate or throw away… every day, until Lent ends. (Try donating, because you are helping others). Print these 40 things in 40 days cards to help you with your daily journey.
3- 40 Days of home Organization
You can do 40 tasks or follow this program and just work through Lent. It’s a way for me to free up the things that hold me back… material things.
Tip: Be sure to DONATE & GIVE TO OTHERS.
Donate your unused or unwanted items after you have decluttered & organized your house.
If you want to get the kids involved, SWAP CHORES FOR SCREENTIME
4- No Gossiping.
Give up gossiping for Lent. That means you cannot do any gossiping. None! If someone says something negative about another person, either say something nice or don’t say anything at all. You would think this is going to be SO easy, but when you can’t say anything negative about anyone else, you realize how often it happens, sadly.
5. Work out daily to take care of the body God gave you.
Spend this time focusing on taking care of the body that God gave you. For Lent, commit to doing some kind of workout every single day. You can go on a walk or join a gym, or even workout at home.
Bible Verses to Remind You that You & Your Body are Important:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Corinthians 6:19-20
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”
6- Don’t Eat After Dinner
This one is hard for me, so it really makes me think about Lent because I can see just a glimpse of how Jesus struggled when he was hungry. I eat most of my snacks in the evening when I am catching up on work.
7. Say 3 Nice Things to Your Spouse & Kids Daily
You may think this is easy, but try to say things that aren’t the normal “Thanks” or “You look nice.” or “Good job.” Try to do 3 out-of-the-box things during Lent this year “I love how you always help the kids.” or “I love how you work hard on your homework, even when it is tough tonight. You are a hard worker” Try to say this important word to your kids. Remember… your words become their inner voice.
8- Don’t Eat Out for 40 Days
Let everyone take a turn at meal making and the money saved from not eating out, donate!
9- Replace 30 Minutes of TV or Screen Time with 30 Extra Minutes of Devotion/Prayer Time.
Read a devotional or bible story with your family and have a discussion about it. Even young kids can get involved in this.
10- Do Not Complain or Speak Negatively.
I added this one because I feel like it’s a great thing to give up for lent… complaining and speaking negatively.
We often complain and whine about things, but we need to try to have a positive outlook on things.
You don’t realize how much you complain until you give it up… “Do everything without arguing or complaining…” Philippians 2:14 NIV
Instead, use this time for daily prayer. Print out daily scripture or verses.
During the time of lent, I commit to writing down all that I am grateful for each day. There are so many things that the Lord has done for us... living in "Selfie" world it's easy to lose sight of this...
Please share any ideas you have so we can all grow together.
Let everything I do this day and in this season of Lent
come from you, be inspired by you.
I long to be closer to you.
Help me to remember that nothing is important in my life
unless it glorifies you in some way.
It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day of my life and keep saying,
"Tomorrow, I will spend more time in prayer,"
but now my longing meets your love and I want to do it now.
Help me to rely on you for help.
Heal me, Lord, and help me to find you in the darkness of my life.
Let me reach out in this darkness and feel your hand and love there to guide me.
I know how much you love me.
I know your love is always with me.
Help me to use your love as a way
to persevere in my Lenten intentions.
I am weak, but I know with your help,
I can use these small sacrifices in my life to draw closer to you.
I want to remember how much I need you in my life
and how much my life needs redemption.
I want to remember it clearly and
in the background of my day today
and all through Lent.
On this special day, Ash Wednesday,
may my small sacrifices in fasting be a way to clear away
the clutter in my life to see you more clearly.
Lord, I know there is darkness
within me and around me.
Bless these days with your Word.
Let your Light shine in the darkness.