The Lent 2017 Kickoff
Here we are at the beginning of another Lent. I am not sure when my Lenten love affair began, but I can tell you that it is currently in full bloom! I feel energized during this time of sacrifice. The grace of a Christian world praying, fasting and helping others in order to strengthen their relationship with Christ, is exciting! This year, as I contemplated what areas of my life could use a booster shot of faith - 6 ideas came to me. Being the overachiever that I am - instead of picking and choosing, I'm going to do my best to rock all of 6 them!
Prayer with Small Groups
My own reawakening to a life with Christ came about thanks to an amazing small group experience. Finding the right people, material and schedule, provided me an opportunity to connect with God not only on Sundays but also on the night of our meeting (as well as each day I spent with my reading assignments).
The small group gave me something to ACT (Accountability, Community and Teach-ability) upon. While I could always find many reasons not to read for myself, knowing others would be counting on me pushes through all my excuses. Aside from the accountability, I now have a community I am excited to spend time with and that also prepares me to be prepared for our study time. Learning new things also inspired and motivated me; and before long I found I had create daily prayer and reflection habits!
How I Plan to Overachieve in Prayer this Lent
Fasting To Improve my Life
For the past year, I have been hard at work on two areas of my life I had seriously neglected. My health (and weight) and my finances. In April 2016, this lifetime member returned to Weight Watchers after beginning the weight loss journey the year before with my daily Rosary walk and more mindful eating. After some initial success; I am now stuck roughly 5 lbs from my goal weight - but more importantly am feeling stuck in my willpower and lacking the motivation to continue. In addition, I've also been fighting a severe Eczema flare since June - and after applying every topical remedy I can find - know it is time to fight this from the inside.
So, Fast #1 is going to be in an elimination diet which will include not only gluten, dairy and wheat; but now also nuts, my beloved peanut butter and eggs. BRING ON THE AIR DIET! The tracking encouraged by Weight Watchers, which is really key to staying 'on track' (pun intended), will be valuable to helping me pinpoint if there is a food triggering responsible for this itch-fest that has become my life! Why include this in my Lent Plan? Simple, because focusing on what Jesus did for me during these 40 days of Lent; will certainly make not being able to have a PB&J for breakfast a little less dramatic!
Fasting isn't JUST about Food
Fast #2 will be from television. I have offered this one up every year. It is the best way to make more time for what I really want to do this Lent; which is build a stronger relationship with Jesus. This reduction in TV time always helps me eat less too - a win-win for sure!
Not So Secret Almsgiving
While I am well aware that the Bible teaches us to do our good deeds in private; as a blogger there is a part of me that hopes there is a little pass when you are sharing for the good of helping others develop their Lenten plans. I mentioned above that in addition to the health crisis; we also finally had to admit to a serious financial crisis as well. While the Lord has been incredibly generous to my family this year as we work all this out; I wanted to use Lent as a time to push our financial recovery plan even further. Sacrifice in a budget is even harder for me than giving up my favorite foods; so once again I will be clinging to the grace of Lent to strengthen my (ours really, as this is a family mission) resolve.
This idea starts off really as a fast and in the end will convert into alms-giving. Our goal is to look over our budget; and tighten it in places we have been either unaware or unwilling to in the past. We will then donate 10% of whatever we are able to save in the next 40 plus days.
40 Bags for 40 Days
Lastly, as I look around my home, I see clutter. Although I have been actively decluttering for the past 10 years; there still seems to be lots of hot spots needing attention. A blogger friend mentioned White House Black Shutters' 40 Bags in 40 Days declutter challenge, and I immediately knew that was the final piece of my Lenten Overachieving Puzzle!
What about you? Accountability, Community and Teach-ability are wonderful ways for us to connect during Lent. Share you Lenten Plan in the comments; and be sure to visit this month's CWBN Blog Hop!