Just Lent A Little

Lent- it’s already here. Officially, today is the first day: Ash Wednesday. The next forty days are a representation of Jesus’ time in the wilderness and the temptation he faced for those 40 days. It comes to an end just before Easter, April 18th. For us today, it can serve as a time of reflection and renewal. Many people choose to fast and give up something to show a sacrifice during this time.

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Truthfully, growing up, we didn’t give much thought to this period of time or why any sort of sacrifice might be significant or important. But now it has shown itself to be a time that brings much clarity and rationality to our lives. We’ve found that when we take the time to practice self-discipline and give something up we’ve come to rely on, we see a little clearer. We take time to pause and reflect on what is truly important and eliminate what we’ve put before our pursuit of holiness.

In the past, we’ve given up things like social media, sweets, caffeine (ouch). So what’s our plan this year? We’ve each thought long and hard about what’s taken hold of us most recently, the things that are taking away significant time from God and other purposeful things in our lives. Here’s what we’ve decided on:

Ashley: My name is Ashley and I’m a snooze-aholic. I am obsessed with hitting my snooze button every morning, multiple times. I’m not proud, but it’s the truth. I know what time I need to be awake to look presentable(ish) and I push it as long as possible and then rush through my quiet time and devotional (if I even HAVE the time for it). It may sound like a simple thing to give up, but I’m giving up my snooze button. When my alarm goes off every weekday morning at 5:45 am, I will throw off the blankets, get my lazy bones out of bed, grab a cup of joe, and spend some much needed quiet time with Jesus. We would never stand up our friends for a coffee date or skip a doctor’s appointment, so why do we so easily slip out the habit of keeping a daily quiet time with God? I am certain this will be a time of growth to learn to slow down, rest in HIM, and really lean in to what God has for me during this season. Any words of advice for this non-early bird?

Jesse: Materialism- Lately, I have found myself fixated on acquiring just the right THINGS. I research them online and look at them often. I let myself get caught up in “keeping up with the Jones”. When there’s something I see that I want and can’t afford, I’m not only disappointed, but it translates into how I look at my life as a whole. As if life will be good when I have all the things and, since I don’t, what I do have is not enough and it’s completely lack-luster. Shame on me. Soooo, it’s time to disconnect from that world. I will not be shopping during Lent, aside from necessities like hygiene items and groceries. Not in a store, not online. I think it’s also important to remind myself that I have an ABUNDANCE in my life. Therefore, I will also be purging an item every day throughout Lent. That’s 40 items that I have that I don’t need, that could potentially benefit someone else.

Together: While God is transforming our hearts and souls we’ve also decided to transform our thoughts. We tend to be our own worst enemies. Studies have found we have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day. Unfortunately, we spend a lot of that time getting stuck in negative self-talk. We’re giving up speaking those UNTRUTHS about ourselves. If we think them, we’ll grab them- give them to God and let ‘em go. They don’t deserve to be spoken out loud. So if you hear us talking down about ourselves or avoiding a compliment or covering an insecurity with sarcasm- feel free to GENTLY call us out. Proverbs 4:23: “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life”. PEACE OUT NEGATIVITY.

We would love to know what you’re giving up or doing for Lent! Tell us if you’re comfortable and want some accountability. We will slap that cookie or beer RIGHT out of your hand (in a loving way). If you’re still unsure or on the fence, we say just jump. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Give up or limit ALL social media

  • Give something to others everyday- maybe pay it forward somewhere! If you buy something for you, try buying one for someone else!

  • Give up a food that you heavily crave- soda, sweets, meat, coffee, alcohol, etc.

  • Dedicate 30 minutes everyday to devotional time or self-reflection

  • Give up eating out

  • Give up negativity- be intentional about not gossiping, cursing, speaking ill of yourself and others

  • Give up negative self-talk- have positive daily affirmations you speak each morning and night

  • Give up a comfort of home- your bed, warm showers, your pillow, TV, using the oven or microwave (the things many around the world go without)

  • Thank someone in your life every day- say it face to face or write a letter. Let them know what they’ve meant to you or how they’ve helped you grow.

  • Give up the mirror or makeup. Say goodbye to vanity.

  • Give yourself silence- no music, podcasts, etc. Or give up specific noise- perhaps only listen to positive podcasts. Be with your thoughts. Focus.

  • Give up texting. AHHHH scary. Maybe all the more reason to do it.

  • Volunteer your time.

  • No single-use plastics. It’s time to try, people.

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