I feel like every year Lent sneaks up on me. Thankfully my husband has been on top of it this year and had us discuss our sacrifices this upcoming Lent. We are both giving up things individually and something as a family. The family sacrifice is a BIG one. Don't worry, I'm already trying to find loop holes. Unfortunately my husband is trying to make me a saint so he isn't falling for any of my "Well what about if this happens?!" scenarios.
So here is the plan for Lent 2014....oh and this isn't to brag or to show that we're "holier than thou" (HATE THAT). Maybe this post will give you some ideas. If anything this post is for accountability.
For myself, I'm giving up shopping and listening to music or talk radio while we are in the car. Silence is really powerful and with all the t.v. and music that we listen to/watch during the day, we can miss what's happening in the quiet. The no shopping thing is tied closely to what we are giving up as a family so it was going to happen either way. I'm also committing to prayer time everyday and Stations of the Cross on Friday. Finally, I'm committing to the skirts and dresses challenge, which means no pants or shorts of any kind for 40 days. I'm "Skirting Up!" if you will... (as opposed to "suiting up" as Barney Stinson would say). The point of this is to just help embrace the "Feminine Genius" that Pope John Paul II spoke about during his papacy.
My husband is giving up soda and I believe he is still working in a few other things... As a family we have given up spending on anything we don't need. So for example, no eating out, going to the movies, shopping, etc. You get the idea. We only spend money on necessities. This is going to be really really really hard for me. Hopefully by the end of the 40 days we'll continue to live a little closer to this lifestyle and not just make it a "Lent" thing.
It doesn't matter how much stuff you give up or what you give up. Lent is simply a beautiful time to grow in faith and love. Sometimes I feel like people do it because it's trendy. How does that even make sense? Honestly though, I've had friends give up stuff (which is awesome!) but they aren't even practicing Christians and I had to wonder why they were doing it? Not sure if I have an answer for that question...Thankfully I have all of lent to ponder it haha. But in all seriousness, Lent is a really important season in the Church and should not be taken lightly. Lent helps us to focus on the greatest sacrifice of all and allows us to grow in holiness.
Now don't be "that guy" who has to make a big deal about all the things you are doing for Lent. Don't be "that guy" who makes sure everyone knows how much he is suffering and how holy he is becoming (see link). Just do what you gotta do and leave it at that. Seems kinda counterintuitive to be posting about my plan for Lent after making those remarks....... But like I said before, just trying to help with ideas and hopefully keep myself accountable. I'll probably chronicle my dress/skirt journey but other than that, I'll be going about my Lenten business quietly.
If you're looking for more information on Ash Wednesday click here. Have fun with people telling you that you've got dirt on your head! Also... if you're still looking for ideas for what to give up click here and here!
Finally, here is an awesome graphic explaining fasting during Lent . Make sure you get (free) Lentsanity app too! Hope this helps!