I am writing this post in part because I know it'll hold me accountable for my Lenten promises this year, and in part to keep track of the progress I make throughout this Lenten season. Given that today is Ash Wednesday, aka the start of the Lenten season, I figured now would be the perfect time to share the promises I'm making this year as a way to help myself kick start into this time for reflection, renewal, and prayer. Sometimes it's so easy for me to forget that I blog for myself, too, and it's nice to use this platform as a communion between sharing my life with other people, and sharing my life for my own growth as well.
This year, I want my Lenten promises to focus more on adding to my faith life, rather than just giving up things for the heck of giving something up for Lent. The whole point of giving something up for Lent is to remove the things that distract you from God in order to renew your relationship with Him and allow it to grow especially during this time that Jesus spent suffering. I usually give up chocolate every year because I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic, but this year I am doing things a little differently with my Lenten promises. Not only am I giving something up, but I am giving up three things, and I am adding three things to my life to "replace" them, in a sense.
For Lent this year I am giving up snacking, all junk food, and swearing. I have noticed lately that I don't just eat when I'm hungry and stop eating when I'm content, but I eat out of boredom, and I eat when I just don't feel like not eating, which is a really bad habit. I am hoping that by eating three healthy, balanced meals every day I will be focused more on other things rather than food and I will be able to channel this focus into devotion to God versus gluttony. In addition, I am giving up swearing not because I swear a lot, but because swearing is something that I often do just out of carelessness. I am giving up swearing as my way of practicing being mindful of the words I say in order to create a more faithful outward expression of myself. In other words, it isn't so much about the swear words as it is the lesson I want to teach myself to really be aware of what I say.
And, of course, for the three things I am adding... I am adding weekly service, daily meditation, and daily scripture to my life. I used to do service often on Saturday mornings at a food pantry, and for the last few months I haven't gone. I have no reason not to go, and because so much of Lent is really about giving not just giving up, I figured service is the best way that I can give back. I am going to try to go serve at this food pantry every Saturday morning throughout Lent. In addition, I find myself often thinking that because I pray every night before bed that I am getting in a good dose of prayer everyday, but I think especially during Lent I am completely capable of stepping this up. I downloaded an app on my phone with a daily scripture passage and lesson from it (if you're interested, it's called Daily Bible Devotion in the App Store) and so far I really like it. I want to read scripture every day, which only takes a minute, and then meditate for at least 10 minutes, no distractions, for some part of my day either praying, clearing my mind, or just plain relaxing in order to thank God for my blessings and pray for those who need it.
Looking for a quote for this post I also stumbled upon the cutest Etsy shop for bible verse prints. Above I gathered a few of my favorite verses:
But some of the prints are even cuter (love this one and this one) with just as wonderful verses on them as well. I really recommend checking out this shop, I think I'll have to order at least one to put in my room as a reminder of my promises during Lent.
I am really excited about this Lenten season and I am really going to work to keep all of my Lenten Promises. Happy Ash Wednesday! Are you making any special Lenten promises this year (if you're a fellow Catholic reader)?