Lent begins next week. What does the Lenten season mean to you and how do you prepare? Are you ready to spend the next 40 days growing deeper in your relationship with Jesus? Have you thought about what that means in context to your Lenten Journey this year?
Lent is a very important time in our Liturgical year. It’s also a very important time for each of us in our relationship with Jesus. Lent is a time to evaluate where we are in our journey and how we are modeling our lives in relation to Jesus’.
I remember growing up and everyone giving up chocolate for Lent as a sacrifice for Jesus. I remember doing it myself as well as giving up sodas. Is that really enough? Is that a real sacrifice that will aid us in growing deeper in our relationship with Jesus?
What does the Lenten season mean to you and how do you prepare?
During Lent there are three key aspects of focus – prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In each of these, we can look within ourselves and see who we are in Christ and who He is asking us to become. This season gives us a time period to see where sin is infiltrating in our lives. As we dive deeper into these three facades, sin is revealed to us and we develop a plan to repair that sin as we prepare ourselves for Easter.
How do I begin to prep for LENT?
Evaluate things in my life that are occupying my time and not providing much value to grow in faith, love and hope.
- Cell Phone… I love the Apple iPhone screen time feature. I can review and analyze my screen time to see how much of my time is being consumed on my phone and how. This is a great tool. Not only can I see how much of my time is being consumed on my phone and how, but I can also be accountable to improving it by having a tool to measure my screen time through the next 40 days.
- TV shows… Perhaps this is an area that consumes a bulk of your time and provides little value. I don’t watch much TV unless it’s a movie with my kiddos.
- Perhaps there are other areas consuming your time that you can evaluate.
How will I replace some of this time with those things that help me to grow more in my relationship with Christ?
Our deepest root in our relationship with Christ is through prayer. It’s our main tool of communication with Him. What changes do we have to make to strengthen our relationship with Him, to allow Him to be our BFF?
- Using the screen time feature (if you have an iPhone), you can set a goal for yourself to reduce certain things like social media by a certain percent. Instead of grabbing the phone to fill your time, you can talk to God in prayer or just sit and be still with Jesus.
- My spiritual director once told me that playing with my kids is a form of prayer. Spending more focused moments with the important people in your life is another avenue to grow in prayer and love with Christ.
We each have strong desires and attachments. Sometimes these things become ways that we deal with our emotions. Often you hear people talking about food and shopping binges to help them deal with emotional stress. Fasting during Lent to grow closer to Christ is sustaining from these things that we desire when our body really doesn’t need them and nourishing our bodies with something that is more life giving. Instead of picking up the chocolate or going shopping….
- Pick up your Bible and read the Word of God
- Grab a book that helps teach you about your faith.
To grow closer to Christ, we need to be more like Christ. Throughout the gospels, we read over and over stories of how Christ helped the people. He never passed a person in need. We are also asked to utilize our gifts and talents that God has given us to pour out into those who need help.
- Set a plan to do charitable work with some of this time. Volunteer at the food pantry.
- Help a friend who needs help – babysit so she/he can have a date night and strengthen their marriage, offer to clean a single working mom’s house if she is struggling to stay on top of everything or just sit with someone who needs a listening ear or is feeling alone.
These are definitely only things that I have been contemplating and praying about as I prepare for Lent. I’m sure there are many things that one can do to grow deeper in faith, hope and love during the season of Lent in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I invite you to look deeper into how you will journey through Lent. Lent is about transformation. It’s transforming who we are in sin to who we are in Christ. It’s journeying with Christ through the 40 days in the desert.
May your desert be nourished through the Lenten season so that you will blossom and bear fruit during the Easter season.