What to Give Up for Lent

Lent is the time of year in the church in which we reflect and prepare for Easter. We are asked to give up something that means a lot to us for 40 days as a way to represent Jesus’s sacrifice during his journey through the desert for that amount of time. Some people give up chocolate or other delicious treats, but what about giving up things that are not as traditional? Here are some items you could be giving up during Lent rather than just meat on Friday’s.

Caffeinated beverages

Whether it is coffee, tea, or soda, the common factor is that they all contain that lovely chemical caffeine that we use to wake up in the morning. You just have to put it in the big picture – what is 40 days in comparison to the other 325 days of the year? Absolutely nothing. Why not try a nice herbal tea or green juice instead? They tend to give me a nice pick-me-up in the afternoon when I notice myself nodding off.

Items from your closet

I recently read an article online explaining how we should take an item from our closet each day during Lent, and at the end of the 40 days donate it to Goodwill. This could be anything from clothing you never wear, shoes that are no longer your style, or accessories/bags that you never use anymore. There are plenty of people out there who would love and appreciate your unused items. It’s a win-win for both!

Smartphone

Now I’m not saying to give up your iPhone, but perhaps give up the “smart” part of your phone. That is the part we are most addicted to. Has anyone emailed me about my resume? Did you see the latest cat video on YouTube? Use your phone for what it was meant for – to call people!

Paper Waste

I tease my colleague that she is a “tree killer” because she uses the office printer constantly! Don’t worry – she knows it’s a joke! But one thing you can do is waste less paper and make an impact on the environment. Parish Giving can help with that! Save your church envelope and paper check, and sign up for e-giving instead.

Parish Giving also has graphics to put in your weekly church bulletin to advertise your parish’s e-giving program. That means you no longer have to contact us, ask for a certain amount of inserts, wait for them to be delivered in a cardboard box, and hand them out to parishioners. Now you can just paste it into your bulletin and not use any extra paper!

Remember that Lent is a time to sacrifice and accomplish something you didn’t know you could. These are just some examples of what you can give up. Just try to commit to something for 40 days and see what you can accomplish!

Love Yourself First #SelfloveSunday Series

Some of us are familiar with the hashtag #SelfloveSunday. People take pictures with their coffee in their comfiest sweats and profess their self-love. Well, what if there is more to loving yourself than drinking a fancy pour over in their designer sweats that you worked so hard for? What if loving yourself has more to do with how you approach viewing yourself and having the world see you? What if it meant loving your imperfections and finding strength in them? That is what #Selflove is about.

Maya Angelou once said, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody”. Sometimes knowing yourself can be mistaken for being overly confident or conceited. Reciting Maya Angelou’s quote allows us to see that this is not true. Knowing yourself and loving yourself is pretty powerful, and not many of us can say we do.

So this made me think, how do we learn to love ourselves? I have 5 steps that will lead to some real #SelfloveSundays that are more Instagram ready than fancy lattes in bed.

Have Grit

Grit is a word that has multiple meanings to multiple people. Grit is similar to gumption – go out and get it. Take that solo adventure, go out to dinner by yourself, or apply for a promotion/school that may be out of reach. Prove to yourself that yes, you can do it. Take pride in yourself and see what you can do. Be daring. Once the adventure is over, you will have more respect for yourself, and therefore more love.

Find Happiness

We’ve all been in a rut. Our life is sometimes on autopilot. We get up, drive to work in the same traffic, go through the same motions, and come home. We do this five days a week. It becomes a bit monotonous, which can also mean boring or dull. When I’m bored, I find myself lacking happiness. I have to break out of the everyday rut, and find my own joy.

It’s sometimes difficult breaking out of your rut, so you sometimes have to be a bit creative. I enjoy taking a different kind of workout class during evenings after work. From aerobics to yoga, I have tried it all. Another way to find happiness is to wear an article of clothing (or accessory) that makes you glow from the inside. I have a pair of bowtie oxfords in pink and purple. When I put them on, I feel as though I can take on the world! That is pure happiness to me.

Meditate

Sometimes you need 5 minutes for yourself. Working 8-hour days, driving in traffic to work each day, and then coming home to family and noise; you just need 5 minutes to recover. Just sit cross legged and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try not to think about anything while doing this. You will feel the weight of the world being lifted off of your shoulders with regular practice. With less weight, you feel lighter and happier.

Cater to you

If you are like most of us, you put yourself last. Stop. You are no good to others if you are not your own priority. Just like you need your 5 minutes of meditation at the end of each work day, you also need to put yourself first. Do not think of this as being selfish, but rather love. Loving yourself allows you to love others around you.

Mass

As usual, I save the best step for last. Just sitting and listening helps to calm our nerves. When you listen to someone preaching about love, it becomes second nature to love yourself.

If you find yourself at mass without your church envelope, do not fret! You can go home and sign up for Parish Giving. In the back of the church you can find cards that state, “I participate in the ‘Electric Giving Program’” in case you feel the need to put something in the offertory basket.

Remember #SelfloveSunday this weekend. Enjoy your coffee in your sweats, or your time at mass. Either way, use that time to find love within yourself.