Disclosure: This post is my personal opinion and based off of personal experiences. I am in no way an expert nor do I practice Catholicism in the “traditional” sense. I am just someone who has developed their own relationship with God based off of their upbringing and religious foundation. This post is merely my opinion and my experience.
I meant to post this yesterday but shockingly enough, my day got away from me! So Happy (belated) Ash Wednesday and welcome to the 2021 Lenten Season! Now that the Mardi Gras celebrations have come to a close, it’s time to start the 40 day journey of Lent!
Whether you’re Catholic or not, Lent is a season that I think we can all benefit from. Of course there are the religious factors that make this season so important in the Catholic faith, however as someone who has spent the past couple years really digging into and reevaluating their own relationship with the Church, I really do think that the Lenten season gives us a unique opportunity to restart and hit refresh on our daily lives which can apply to everyone – not just Catholics. It teaches us to reevaluate what we have been prioritizing and make the conscious effort to put something greater before all else.
If you are new to the concept of Lent, this website has so many resources to help deepen your understanding. There are so many different ways to celebrate the season of Lent. Some people fast, some people give things up, some pray more, etc. There is no “right” way to go through this journey.
There are three main pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For me, that means checking in with God and asking how/why you are being called by Him, turning away for things that are causing a negative impact on your life (bad habits, toxic people and relationships, etc.), and most importantly giving to others. In college, one of my professors made a suggestion for how we can enhance our Lenten experience that has since stuck with me: instead of just “giving something up”, try to include something new in your life; add a new habit or lifestyle change that positively impacts your day to day life.
As I approached this Lenten season, I asked myself a few different questions. Why do I feel compelled to embark on this Lenten journey? How will I prioritize my relationship with God? In what way do I think I’ll get distracted and how to combat those distractions? How do I want to grow as a person in the next 40 days?
If you are choosing to start the Lenten journey, I really encourage you to ask yourself these (or similar) questions! It gives you a foundation to start, your reason “why”, and gives you a clear picture of what obstacles to expect along with how to overcome them.
Now the big question: How in the world am I going to make time for any of this?
After countless years of starting and then stopping a week or two in, I knew I needed to find a way to actually follow through. In the past, I always waited for the time and waited for it to be convenient in my schedule. Obviously that wasn’t working. So this year I needed to really take my time seriously. As a mom of two toddlers, free time is not really something I have too often so I decided to MAKE the time. I went as far as to make it a date! Every day at the same time, my alarm will go off. After setting a 10 minute timer, I will evaluate my Lenten journey. Pressing Pause has always been a great resource for me when diving deeper into my faith and relationship with God and Jesus. I have mentioned this journal in the past and I feel like now is a great time open it back up! Even if you’ve already finished it, its a great way to reconnect with God throughout this journey. There are so many great options when looking for a devotional or guided prayer book. All it takes is a quick Google search to find something that its geared toward you!
Making the time to evaluate your journey and to really focus on making this time a priority in your day will help you get the most out of this experience. Having resources like Pressing Pause or another devotional to help guide you through prayers or focus your attention to a specific topic can be a huge support and make a big difference.
Lent is a season of growth and there is no perfect way to go about it. Remember to give yourself some grace. Like anything new you’re trying, there will be mistakes and set backs. The important thing is to remember that this is your journey and you decide how it’s going to go.
So what do you hope to get out of the next 40 days?
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