March 5, 2014

Lent

Not only have Wednesdays been nicknamed "hump day", but this particular Wednesday is extra special. Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent! Ash Wednesday, in many Christian traditions, is a day of reflection and repentance. As you go about your day, you might notice some individuals styling a cross drawn on their foreheads in ash. In all honesty, I haven't ever really participated or taken Lent seriously and have been questioned by many on what Lent is all about. And so, the thought of having a blog post dedicated to this topic not only seemed to be appropriate, but I hope it to be informative and a enjoyable read.

What is Lent?
Lent is "marked" by a period of time that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday celebrates the start of Jesus' 40-day journey of fasting and temptation in the dessert (see Matthew 4:1-11). Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus' resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion.

How do individuals celebrate Lent?
This really varies from person to person and from church to church. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate, and it certainly is not required to take part in! In the past, I have gone to worship services dedicated to the Holiday but have never been successful at giving anything up...something that is typically done by many over Lent. 

What are some things individuals give up?
Again, this differs for everyone and can be anything as little as giving up soda and sweets or as big as taking away the use of social media (Pinterest and Blogging being the hardest for me).

Do you have to give something up?
No! Not at all! I've had friends who instead of giving something up, decided to challenge themselves by volunteering in the community and dedicate a particular person to pray for regularly.
Why do you want to celebrate Lent?
The choice to celebrate Lent is a personal one. I want to partake in it to help focus my heart and mind on Jesus and all that he went through during the days leading up to Easter.

How do you plan to celebrate?
I struggle with giving things up, especially if it's only for a brief period of time. I've tried the whole dieting over Lent and sometimes never lasted the full 40 days. I personally don't feel dieting for Lent to be realistic. Maintaining our health should be a lifestyle that we should want to commit to long-term; eating healthy, exercising, etc. So instead of trying to stick to a strict diet, I think I would benefit better by doing RAK's (Random Acts of Kindness).

What are some ideas of RAK's I could do?
This one is easy for me to answer! There are SO many ways to serve others throughout your day-to-day schedule and can be as easy or as challenging as you want them to be. And if you don't want to stick to doing the same thing for 40-days, you can switch it up with a variety of options.
  • Pray for someone you wouldn't consider to be a friend. This can be someone who frustrates or opposes you. Also pray for yourself, that you would show them the same kind of grace that Christ has shown for us.
  • Clean out your closet and donate unwanted items to Goodwill.
  • Write a thank-you note to your mailman.
  • Take baked goodies to a local fire station for the firefighters to enjoy.
  • Give jewelry that you no longer wear to someone who has child to use to play dress up with.
  • Leave a Bible verse on a Post-It note and leave it on someone's car.
Are there any takeaways to get from Lent and Easter Sunday? 
Lent is really a great time to re-examine our lives in hopes to identify unhealthy habits that ought to be cut out of our life. The small pain of missing a comfortable daily habit reminds us of the real hardships that Christ experienced and of everyone else who have faced trials and setbacks on account to their faith. One thing I have noticed is that if you stick to six consecutive weeks of something, chances are it's well on it's way to becoming a meaningful and healthy new habit.

11 comments :

  1. I love this post! As I was driving to work this morning I found myself thinking about how much we focus on the fun sides of Mardi Gras and Easter, but the Lenten season is so important in the Church! I love the idea of dedicating yourself to something (such as your RAK or volunteering). I'm trying to get involved in volunteering and giving up diet coke :) I've also seen some really cool looking prayer challenges. Have a great day!

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  2. Love how you're spreading the love of Christ and explaining this!!!! And RAKs! What a fabulous idea!!!! xx

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  3. Love that you shared this! Such a wk wonderful explanation. Love your idea of RAKs!

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  4. Totally love it. I'm giving up sweets (sugars/sodas) I'm hoping and praying I can do the whole 40 days :)

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  5. I loved this post! There are so many people that need this explanation in their lives!! We need more people like you in this world, Instead of giving something up this year I am going to work on being positive :) Happy Ash Wednesday!

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  6. Love what you are going to be doing!!

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  7. This is such a great idea! I love that you're giving back in place of giving up. What a wonderful way to show God's love to others.

    Caitlin C
    withpearlsandastethoscope.blogspot.com

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  8. love this post!! i really do love giving things up for lent, where i struggle is remembering the true reason i am giving it up! so this year i am going to do things in addition to giving up things.

    i was going to do a diet, but with the trip to italy it wasn't feasible so instead i am giving up something harder: my snooze button. seriously i have a love affair with that thing! and then i am going to write a note to someone each week, because snail mail is the greatest and i want people to know someone is thinking of them. and also each day, reading from my "power of a praying wife devotional" to pray for matt each day for whatever i think he needs that day. by doing that, i hope to grow closer to the lord during this time and remember that it is not all about me! i just started the book but i definitely recommend it if you haven't heard of it!

    xo mk
    goldhattedlover.com

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  9. just found your blog! loving it, definitely followed =] i also love the idea of gaining something for lent like volunteering instead of giving something up!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rebecca! I am so glad that you enjoyed this post and are now a follower of mine! Welcome and THANK YOU :) I got your email but it showed that you are a "No-Reply Blogger" so I just wanted you to know I did get it, and in the past did a blog post on how to fix that issue! Here is the link so you can check it out! Hope you have a great day sweet girl! http://simplysweetmelissa.blogspot.com/2013/12/no-reply-bloggers.html

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  10. Oh man I am SO glad you shared this because Jon and I were just talking this morning about what lent was. Sadly we don't know much about it, so needless to say, this was incredibly helpful! You're the best!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I will usually respond back to you via email (not here on the blog)...It's easier for me that way and hopefully it sparks a conversation for us! It makes me giddy that you're here and took the time to leave me a comment :)

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