Practice self-sacrifice: Things we can learn from Lent
Lent, to be perfectly clear is a Christian practice. Although, anyone is welcome to try the tradition in honor of sacrifice. It is a tradition that involves fasting for forty days and nights in preparation for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the Easter celebration.
I remember growing up in the Catholic church, my parents really took Lent seriously and they passed that will onto me. They would leave their ashes on for the entire day just to prove that they were serious about penance. Lent or Lenten-fasting is a Christian practice that involves depriving oneself of the things that are dear to him or her. It’s a symbol that represents the kind of suffering that Christ endured in the wilderness. Although Lent is not for everyone, depriving oneself of some form of comfort is a good thing. Lent doesn’t only involve waiting for the sweets or food that Easter comes with; it also requires depriving yourself of something that you are basically addicted to; something that takes some priority in your daily life. That is why it’s so symbolic.
Here are a few things that people typically deprive themselves for a short while.
Focusing on your needs and not your wants
When I say this, I mean you should chin up and stop buying all the things that you want but don’t really need them. Things like new phones and devices shouldn’t be your priority, not when you don’t really need them. This Lent you should try saving some extra money for a change. This little practice should span across everything you spend money on. For example, you can’t buy all the little things you set your sight on this Lenten fast.
Donating every day of the Lenten fast
Regardless of whether you are religious or not, giving should hold a special place in your life. We are blessed to be where we find ourselves today and should never forget those that aren’t as fortunate. This Lent, try to give as much as you can daily. It might be just a plate of soup or some old clothes, but it might be enough to put a smile on a person’s face.
I know that most gossipers don’t think they gossip. They just see their conversations as innocent gist sessions. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you are actually gossiping or maybe you are just talking about someone. As long as you know in yourself and you are well aware that what you are saying is not hurting someone, then you’re in a good place. This Lent, we should try to fight those habits that seem hurtful to others. After all, Lent is about repentance and penance. We should see the days of the lent fast as an intense confession and repentance session and try to break away from old destructive habits.
Limit meal time to just three times a day
I think more than anything, Lent is about the tribulations that Jesus faced and overcame in the desert. So, it’s only appropriate that we also subject ourselves to similar conditions. Technically, limiting your number of meals to the standard three times a day doesn’t really compare to the kind of suffering that He endured in the wilderness. I think that it’s a safe compromise. We should try to get closer to the savior this Easter by devoting more time to knowing Him and curbing our eating habits. This meal limiting plan should cover just more than conventional meals. It should also go in to cover other things like limiting your soda intake and junk food consumption.
Give up TV
This might seem impossible for some with an unbelievable line-up of coming this spring. People easily forget that these great series will still be there a month after Easter. Television is inherently distracting. It’s practically impossible to stay focused on the Messiah when you are shacked up in front of the TV every night. This lent, you should try to disconnect from it all. Try minimizing your TV time and pick up something that is less distracting and more productive like a prayer.
Pray this Lent
One of the major characteristics of fasting is constant prayer. This Lenten shouldn’t be any different. Devote some time to pray to Him daily – it’s the most important part of the fast. You should put all that excess time from not watching TV to good use and try to really commune with him.
I hope that these things that we can change about ourselves this Lent could help us improve our relationship with the Lord. Lent, above everything else, is about Jesus Christ. This little suggestion list allows us to effectively share His experience and strengthen our relationship with Him.