#HowWeLent Challenge (CWBN Blog Hop)
There are 3 pillars of Lent. Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.
For this Lent, I decided to set 2 goals for each pillar. Read: Lenten Overachiever
Plans are Meant to be Altered
All over social media, those still left after the Lenten Exodus, people are confessing to their inability to keep their Lenten promises. According to Facebook and Twitter, there has been lots of coffee drunk, chocolate eaten, swears said, and prayer time skipped. The hashtag #LentenFail started showing up just a day into the liturgical season. The #LentFail numbers grew again after bacon bits, chicken broth and unintentional "Oh no, I totally forgot it was Lent" hamburger consumption on the first Friday of Lent.
Here is the good news. YOU Cannot Fail Lent. It is not a test. Lent is a time of looking at our lives and trying new ways to grow closer to Christ. Through prayer, fasting and charity, these forty days can be used to challenge our current choices and behaviors, and try on new ones. We may choose to pray more often or read the scriptures daily. If we only pray twice all week, when we normally pray only once - we have ended ahead! Perhaps you are fasting, like me from television. So you set the goal to only watch on Sundays, yet if you are only able to watch one day less, you have accomplished something during this Lent.
The Overachiever's Update
The WINE Lenten Book club featuring Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ's Passion through the Eyes of Women, has been remarkable. The interaction on the WINE website and the Facebook group have been so inspiring; what an incredible blessing to journey with so many faithful women. No one has it all figured out. It has been encouraging to read how following Christ can take on so many forms and is filled with ups and downs. Times when we can feel so close to Jesus we call him our friend and others when we wonder if we are just chasing a dream of what we hope and not what really is (or is not). It is the hope though, and those beautiful moments when God reveals himself to us, that keep us searching and praying.
I have also absolutely loved the #LentenWalk Photo Challenge on Instagram. View here!
The other goal for Lent was reading the Gospel of John and meeting weekly at my parish to discuss it. I went faithfully for the first few weeks but have to admit the last two weeks I've given priority to home obligations. We have one week left of Lent, and I do plan to go this week as it is Holy Week. The group barely made it through even half of the Gospel but it is 10 chapters more than we had studied before. The biggest gain for me personally was falling in love all over again with John 4 - The Woman at the Well.
Lent Episode featuring The Woman at the Well: Regrets
And the Rest ...
The television fast has been part of my Lenten practice for over 10 years. Each year, I manage to avoid watching Monday through Saturday (afternoon) for the enter 40+ days. This year has been no exception. The work productivity alone is worth continuing this practice beyond Lent. The extra time to read, pray and study has me once again hoping to take the grace of seeing I can live without TV into my Easter season. The hitch - it is Red Sox season!
The attempt to fast from certain foods to determine the cause of my eczema flare went well - in that I fasting for a few weeks than caved and ate eggs, peanut butter and even a little gluten, then quickly realized I am indeed sensitive to all of them. For my health and well-being I have not choice but to bring this fast beyond Lent. I just pray I will have the grace to stay strong. You would think just the uncomfortable itch would be incentive enough.
Since the Scriptures advice that we do our giving in private so that our reward will be in Heaven, I will refrain from sharing too much on this topic. I will say that we have been fairly successful in only dining out on Sundays, and curbing most of our extra spending. We've not been as sacrificial as we could (or should). Definitely identified some areas of weakness and lack of discipline in our spending. These last two years working on managing our finances have been some of the most difficult and yet most rewarding. The greatest joy is always when you have made good choices and have put yourself in a place to offer help to others.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras