Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

Easter Eggs courtesy of TouTouke

Ash Wednesday, February 6th,, marked the beginning of the season of Lent. “What are you giving up for Lent?” is a question that many Christians have asked themselves and will be asking others.

In addition to the idea of giving something up for Lent (the period beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on the Thursday before Easter), the season often includes periods of fasting and prayer. Many Catholics will eat fish on Friday, avoiding all other meat. Some people will give up meat all together for the season. Other people will give up alcohol, chocolate, and a variety of other things.

Christians don’t have a corner on fasting. Fasting is an integral part of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other world religions. While the reasons and the history behind fasting in the world faiths vary, they’re often based on purifying yourself and bringing yourself to another spiritual level or awareness. Fasting can include abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for some period of time. During the fasting period, the fasting can be total or partial. There is also fasting for medical reasons that can promote a type of detoxification. As well as those people that might be doing some kind of hunger strike or protest. The person who has fasted will often have a new sense of appreciation for what they have. It can also show them that they can live without whatever they have given up during their period of fasting.

Regardless of if you’re Christian or not, you can use the period of Lent to make some changes in your life, to recommit yourself to the resolution(s) that you made for the new year, or you can evaluate the resolutions that you made to determine if you want to continue them or what changes you might need to make. Have you been thinking about going on a diet? Maybe you could go on a diet for the Lent period. Maybe you have been thinking about quitting cigarettes, or maybe you have been thinking about making some other changes. Because Lent is a defined period of time, you can use the time as a trial run for your change. If you find that you’re able to easily make your change, then you might be able to use that success as a spring board and adopt it permanently. If you found that you the change was too hard to make or that you really don’t want to make the change, you can decide not to permanently adopt your change without quilt because you made an agreement with yourself that it was for the Lent period.

You’ll need to establish some ground rules.
• What kind of change are you going to make?
• Will your change truly be for the whole time or only certain periods (i.e. fish on Fridays, or fasting on certain days)?
• Consider what factors might hamper your change. If you’re going to quit smoking and you usually have a cigarette after drinking a cup of coffee or having a beer, you might want to look at changing other habits that involve the habit that you’re trying to change, or that might be in conflict with the change you’re trying to make.
• What will you do when presented with situations where it is hard or difficult to comply with your change (i.e. if you give up certain types of food or are on a special diet and you are somewhere or some event where you aren’t able to comply like a party or a restaurant that doesn’t have the type of food that you’re trying to eat).
• Think of things that you can do to make your change fun and not seem like a sacrifice (especially if you’re thinking of making your change permanent).
• Involve family, friends, and co-workers in your change. Maybe you can go on a diet or quit smoking together and you can motivate each other to go on with your change.
• Hang out with others that are making the same change, have already made the change, or are likely to encourage you. Stay away or limit your contact with those people that are demotivating.
• Break it up into smaller chunks. You can do almost anything is possible if you break it up into small enough durations. With Alcoholics Anonymous they live one day at a time. With the passing of time and success, you’ll see that you can make the change and it will hopefully become easier.
• Lastly, review your experiences with the change that you made. Based on your experiences do you wish to make it permanent?

So what are you giving up for lent? What change are you going to make? Are you now recommitted to your New Years Resolutions or have you modified them? You can use the period in a spiritual sense but you can also use to at a laboratory for changes in your life. Feel free to tell us what changes you plan to make during Lent or do you have any tips that you would like to share?

If you liked this article, please share it on or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

blog comments powered by Disqus