Lent is fast approaching. I’m sure that many of you are preparing for what you hope will be a very fruitful lent season. I know we are here at our house.
For me, the weeks leading up to lent are usually filled with thoughts of how holy I’m going to get during lent. How it’s going to impact the rest of my life in a positive way, and how much I am going to change and grow as I am continually offering up sacrifices. I am a bit of a romantic when it comes to holiness. I like to think about all this praying that I will do and how awesome it’s going to be when I finally get into that adoration habit, and don’t even get me started about daily mass.
But I’m a lazy butt.
I don’t know why I’m just now realizing this. I have plenty of time in my day to devote to prayer…plenty. And yet I don’t. Well…not as much as I should. I’m embarrassed by this, but I know it’s something that a lot of people struggle with, so I want you to know: You are NOT alone! We all have times when we fall short of what God is calling us to do.
So how do I have the Lent that I have been dreaming of?
This is the question.
Here is what I am thinking:
- Set reasonable expectations for myself. I think that I can expect a lot from myself, but I definitely don’t want to set myself up to fail either.
- Have some sort of checklist that I can hang up so I can help keep track of how I’m doing, and hold myself accountable so I don’t decide to quit when it gets too hard.
- Tell Ben what my plans are so he can encourage me, and also to have another level of accountability.
Seems pretty foolproof to me….
Deciding what to give up….
This part has always been super tough for me. Finding my way between ‘so hard that I can’t last through lent’ and ‘so easy that it’s like I’m not doing anything’ is a difficult balance to strike. A lot of years in the past I’ve decided to not give anything up, and instead I add something that should be helping me grow spiritually.
While I definitely think that adding spiritual items to your plate during lent is important, I also think that it’s super important to give something up. After all, what are we commemorating during lent? Jesus’ time in the desert, where he prayed AND FASTED.
Because I’ll be in the third trimester once Lent hits, I have decided to not give up any food stuff. Because there are times when my stomach can only handle certain foods, I can’t risk not being able to eat because I gave up the one thing I feel like eating…. So I am giving up something that I think will actually be even harder: TV, Movies, and YouTube (except for what I have to do for work).
Because I work part time and don’t go into work until the afternoon, it is so easy for me to waste away the morning on Netflix. Lazy. For me this goes hand in hand with adding my spiritual items, by eliminating by biggest distraction to spiritual growth.
If you still haven’t found the perfect item to give up yet, there are a lot of really creative ideas online. When you find the right one you just know, and you kind of think “Well, darn it, that’s what I have to do”. If you feel in your gut that it will be difficult, then you know that’s the observance for you. It’s not fasting if it’s easy.
Now what to add?
There are two things that I know are desperately missing from my life right now. Mass during the week and adoration.
Currently I’m at one daily mass a week, and hardly any adoration. I need to up my Jesus time.
So here is what I am planning to do to get in that much needed Jesus time and hopefully create a habit that sticks. I am going to increase my mass times to at least three other days a week besides Sunday. For adoration I am going to increase my adoration time to at least one full hour per week. Because my work is awesome and we have a chapel, I am also going to get to work early to have Jesus time on the days that I don’t go to mass. Because we get the Magnificat sent to us in the mail, I plan to spend that time reading the readings and meditation for that day.
Some other great ideas for adding spiritual items to your lent could be: saying the rosary every day, reading the bible, or some other forms of spiritual reading. You know where you’re at and what’s going to be the most impactful for you. If you need help deciding talk to your parish priest, after all that is what they’re there for!
How are you preparing for lent? I’d love to hear about the things that you are planning to do!