Well, Lent is officially here and I’ve been thinking about what I want to do this year. For the past couple of years I’ve opted to do positive things, rather than give up sweets, because it always seems to have a wonderful effect on me both spiritually and emotionally. Lent can be an invaluable opportunity for self-improvement, as well as spiritual development!
If you’re still trying to figure out how you’re going to observe Lent, here are ten of my favorites:
1. Pray daily with your spouse or family.
In prayer, share your hopes, worries, and everything you’re thankful for. Over the next few weeks, your relationship with both God and your family will be enriched!
2. Replace each negative thought you have with something positive.
When you replace that thought, thank God for that something positive you’ve just acknowledged.
3. Replace unhealthy or meaningless habits with a positive activity.
For example, spend a little less time on Facebook and open up your Bible instead, or shut off your television in favor of spending some time in prayerful meditation. If you have body image issues, stop weighing yourself by removing your scale and replacing it with an inspirational quote. Every time you feel like weighing yourself, say a quick prayer and be thankful for everything your body can do!
4. Don’t cut out certain foods completely, but switch your focus regarding your diet.
When eating, concentrate on eating foods that are good for you so you can make your body as healthy as possible. Throughout the day, remember to thank God for your body and your health, and strive to take care of that body!
5. Exercise daily–and purposefully.
Just as in the previous idea, exercise for health rather than trying to achieve a certain “look.” Incorporate long, prayerful, walks into your workout regimen. Pray while you exercise, and find music that will inspire you!
6. Give daily compliments and encouragement.
Say one positive thing to both yourself and another person each day. Tell them how much you appreciate everything they do for you, and recognize special abilities you see in them. Remind yourself of your good qualities as well, and start thinking about how you can really use them for the betterment of others!
7. Do a daily favor for someone else.
Pack your husband’s lunch, pick up a few items from the store for your mother, or send a card to a friend. Spend some time volunteering for churches and other organizations in your area.
8. Pray the Rosary daily or weekly.
This is something my husband and I are really trying to do more. I began praying the Rosary daily in junior high, but I have to admit that with how busy my schedule has become, that doesn’t always happen anymore and I would like to get back at it!
This is something else I need to be better about. Even though it’s really easy to use my current lack of income as an excuse not to give to the church very often, I need to remember my responsibility especially when I’m likely spending unnecessary money elsewhere.
10. Don’t be afraid to talk about your faith.
Do something each day to share your faith with others. Don’t be embarrassed or worry about what others might think. It’s likely that when others hear you talking about your relationship with God, they’ll be inspired to talk about–and enhance–their spiritual life, too.
I hope these ideas can give you a springboard for your Lenten journey. Now, I’d love to hear from you–How are you planning on observing Lent?
Love, Hope, & Prayers,