February 10, 2016

ash wednesday

I don’t come from a liturgical church background, but this year I am observing Lent along with other church holy days. As I get older and discover more about myself and my personality (ISFJ) I have realized that traditions, holidays, liturgy, and observances really inspire me. I’m leaning in to that and hoping to bring it into my home as well.

I thought and thought about how I should personally observe Lent. Some things I considered giving up were sweets, social media of some form, caffeine (that was just a passing thought), and TV. I also thought about adding in some things: exercise, family time/activities, Bible study.

This is what I settled on: I am going to do daily Bible readings from the Book of Common Prayer, and I am going on a personal spending freeze.

The thing I wanted to change most was to have daily Bible study time. I am currently doing one with my church, but it is too in-depth for me to find time for it every single day like I want to. But just because our sleeping situation is less than ideal and I’m not able to wake up before my kids, that doesn’t mean I can’t find time to read a short Scripture passage and say a prayer. Instead of choosing a daily devotional, I’ve chosen to follow the Book of Common Prayer because I want to feel connected to the Church.

I also wanted to make some sort of sacrifice and give something up. I decided to give up all personal money spending for a few reasons. For one thing, I’ve just spent too much lately. It hasn’t been frivolous; I have been buying some high quality clothing items that will be a great help to me, for example. But as I’ve been spending, it becomes easier and easier to spend, and I noticed my attitude trending toward the needing of certain things to feel adequate. So I’m cutting myself off!

A few exceptions: I’m allowed to use gift cards, or replace any empty toiletries or essential makeup items. But that’s it. I’m not going to be buying extra things for the kids either, but this is not a family spending freeze.

I’d love to hear about your relationship with Lent, if you observe it and how, if you’d like to share!

Posted in: faith, personal, holidays, personal, thoughts

Comments on lent

  1. 1

    From Nicole S.:

    Growing up Jewish, Lent has always been fascinating to me. It seems to have similar purpose to our holiday of Yom Kippur, which includes a day of fasting. The purpose of the fast, in my understanding, is to focus your physical attention towards God. When you feel the hunger, you’re supposed to think of what God provides for you on a daily basis. I’m sure there’s more to it, but I liked that sentiment. I would not consider myself a Believer (capital B intended), but I do still relate to the idea of giving something up to help you focus on being more present. I’ve often thought that there were people who gave things up for the sake of giving them up, and that these things didn’t really lead to being more present, or more with God. Chocolate, for instance, never felt like a “good enough” thing to give up, because while you may crave it, you probably aren’t more God-aware without it.

    I love the idea of pairing an addition with the sacrifice. One of my coworkers practices and last year she gave up TV in order to bring nightly yoga and meditation in her life. Those practices stuck with her after the fact, even once TV was brought back into her daily/weekly practice, which I really appreciate.

    I guess I have a lot of thoughts on Lent! I’m really looking forward to hearing about how the shopping freeze and daily Bible study work out for you! I think both are such good changes to make during Lent.

    xo nicole

  2. 2

    From Nicole S.:

    Oh, and I’m an ISFJ too! :)

  3. 3

    From Kristen:

    Great minds think alike! I just wrote a piece over on my blog on the same topic: http://wp.me/p21dFw-nH
    For me, it’s not just about abstaining from pizza ( my stomach growls thinking of it!), but trying to be more aware and compassionate.I think Lent is a great time to reflect on spirituality and blessings, but also to make myself more aware of habits in a deliberate way.

  4. 4

    From Nora:

    Love this! I’ve been on a no-spend kick since the beginning of the month and I have to say, it’s kind of awesome. Knight and I are checking in with each other on things we would have bought, realize what we NEED vs. want vs. what is an impulse.

    Lent snuck up on me this year; I’m doing so much already in terms of food changes for my fitness program + no spend + purging my house this month that I’m not sure what I’ll come up with to do, but it’s on my list to figure out by this evening when we go to Church :)

  5. 5

    From Brittany Deal:

    I am excited that this is the first year I am in a liturgical church who practices lent. I love that you’re adding a daily devotion (and making it work for your schedule) and giving up personal spending. I am the same way, once I start spending it gets easier and easier to do and I am not mindful of it. I briefly considered giving up caffeine but I thought making my whole family suffer wasn’t a good plan ;)

  6. 6

    From Marina:

    I grew up in the Catholic Church but practice more spirituality now through meditation and mindfulness. For some reason though I have been feeling pulled back into Lent this year. I even sought out some contemplative practices. Open to how it will all play out during this season of introspection. For me, my Lenten practice will be completely shutting off my phone and instead carrying a handheld camera when I’m with my family. As a memory keeper, I want to capture those special moments but have a hard time resisting social media when it’s there. Also an ISFJ. <3

  7. 7

    From Lisa of Lisa's Yarns:

    I am Catholic so giving things up for Lent is a tradition I’ve observed for many years. I am not sure how early we started giving things up but I am going to guess that it was maybe around age 8? While I’ve mostly given up things for Lent, there’s also an option to do something extra, like prayer or volunteering, etc. I think I’d probably get more meaning out of doing something extra but I also really like the challenge of sacrificing something. This year I am giving up instagram and facebook. I haven’t taken a break from facebook since 2008, I think, so I am well overdue for a break from it. I’ve gotten into an awful habit of looking at FB or IG WAY too much. I just feel like I sometimes go from one ap to the next and mindlessly scroll through it so I’m hoping that abstaining from using them will break that awful habit. I’m really bad about doing it in the evening before bed so my hope is that instead of wasting time on FB, I can make more time for prayer.

    Good luck with abstaining from making purchases for yourself! I would like to do that as well for a month – maybe in March or April!

  8. 8

    From San:

    I was raised catholic, but I don’t observe Lent, but I think it’s a nice exercise to abstain from certain things every once in while. Good luck with your goals!

  9. 9

    From Stephany:

    I am not Catholic, but I have given up things for Lent in the past. I decided not to this year (mostly because I don’t feel as if my motives have been pure; one of these years, I really want to give up TV so I can free up my time for bible study and volunteering). I am doing a fun challenge with my mom during Lent, though, and we are going to call one another every night to say one compliment about ourselves. My mom can get really down on herself – and thus, I can, too, because like mother, like daughter, right? It’s a habit I am trying to break, and it’s a habit I want HER to break as well, so I proposed this idea so we can focus on all the ways we are awesome! I have a feeling Lent is going to be such a positive experience for the both of us. :)

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