I hope you all are having a prayerful and invigorating Lent so far! As always, at this point in time, we need to look back and review our Lenten devotions. Are you doing enough or too much? Are you remembering to carry out what you planned to do? Are you feeling stressed about getting it all done? First off, don’t worry too much. Second, read the helpful guidelines posted below to find out if you are on track.
Are you doing too much?
If you feel like you are doing too much, remember it is okay to scale back. We all bite off more than we can chew. First find out if you have too much to do because you are allowing yourself to be preoccupied with worldly things or if you simply don’t have enough time in the day to fulfill all your commitments. If so, review your priorities and make sure the eternal matters are handled appropriately.
Are you doing too little?
If you feel like you don’t notice any difference between Lent and regular daily living, that is a sign you aren’t doing enough. Consider adding something small and simple to help you along in your spiritual life. This could include a daily morning prayer, thanking God for 3 things each night, or setting aside time to read your bible for 10-15 minutes each day.
Fasting vs Dieting
Be careful no to make fasting and dieting the same. A way to check to see if you are fasting or dieting is to ask yourself why you are abstaining from whatever you are considering eating. If you say no to the item because you “don’t need more sugar”, “are cutting back on carbs”, or “want to stay thin,” then you are abstaining for dieting purposes. If you say no because you want to offer it up to God, then you are truly building up the Kingdom of Heaven.
Don’t start off too great. For instance, if you rarely ever read your bible, don’t start off by trying to read 30 minutes a day. You will end up feeling burned out and bored by the second week of Lent. Instead, try only 3 minutes for the first week. Then move up to 5 in the second week. Then 8. and so on. It may seem insignificant, but remember that each small brick adds up to a great building. Lifelong habits can and should be forged during Lent, and these small steps will help ensure a lifelong commitment to reading God’s word.
If you give up something, give up something you care about. If you have coffee every day, then giving up coffee would be a sacrifice for you. If you have coffee only a few times a month, giving it up is really not really a sacrifice.
Substitutions are Allowed
Substitute when you can. If you give up television and normally watch an hour or two a day, find something new to do with your time. It can be spiritually related depending on how much you want to do and are already doing. Consider taking a walk, reading religious books, volunteering at a nursing home, or some other community service. Make sure you don’t fall into another habit you don’t want to make though. Don’t substitute your television watching with going to the movies with your friends.
I hope these tips help you review your Lenten journey and make changes as needed. Don’t feel like you have to change your devotions if you feel like you are right on track. Remember also that everyone is different. What might work for a friend may not work for you. Wishing you all a spiritually fruitful Lent!