I was raised Catholic as a child, and attended private Catholic school from Kindergarten alllllllllll the way through til I got my bachelor's in college. (that's a lot of Catholic schooling!!)
So to say the idea of giving up something for Lent has been drilled into my head for many, many years is an understatement.
As a kid, Lent was just that - a time to give up something. Sure, sure, we were taught that we were to spend this time "growing closer to Jesus" but that's a very abstract idea to a child. Giving up something you wanted was a way to make it real, I suppose.
However, even as an adult, I still hear of lots of other adults giving things up for Lent. And while I think making changes to better yourself as a person is great, I don't necessarily think that's what Lent is for. Especially because I know a lot of people give things up for selfish reasons, not for God reasons. (think: if I give up fill in the blank I will lose weight/save money/whatever.) I'm not judging, and there's nothing wrong with that, but if that's all there is, you're certainly not improving your relationship with God, I don't think. It's all about your mindset and your reason for doing what you're doing.
Also, I really like the idea of doing something additional for Lent, and I think that's a great way to improve yourself, and be a better person, and keep your focus on God.
Anyway, all that being said, here's what I'm going to do for the next forty days:
For the most part, I like to think of myself as a nice person. I'm polite, I do good deeds for friends&family and strangers. Buuuttttt, I'm also guilty of being a little catty. If someone annoys me or I encounter a rude person or whatever the situation may be, I'll most likely bitch to my husband about it that night. Or to a friend I chat with during the day. I don't particularly like that trait, and so I'm going to work on changing it. God tells us to "love one another" and that's what I'm going to try and do.
2. Go to church every Sunday.
I'm kind of ashamed to post that one, because going to church should already be a given, but since baby came it hasn't been. I enjoy going to church and I always feel like I learn something, or hear something that I need to hear, and I know God appreciates that I make the time for him too.
For anyone who knows me, this is huge. It's probably unfathomable. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I eat more sweets than anyone else I know. And I'm not giving up sweets to lose weight or watch calories or anything silly like that, but kind of as a way to focus my thoughts on being a better Christian. Trust me when I say I think about sweets at least 10 times a day. But during the next forty days, every time I think about having dessert or wishing I could have candy/chocolate/cookies/ice cream/etc, I'm going to take the time to remember the purpose of Lent and say a prayer or reflect on being kinder to others or more patient with my kiddos or whatever it may be.
And in case you're curious sweets = cookies, cake, any baked goods, ice cream, frozen yogurt, candy, chocolate......
I'm not giving up sugar, which means I can still have things like yogurt, sweetened cereal, healthy granola bars (that don't have chocolate), maple syrup in my oatmeal, etc.
Happy lent everyone!