Lenten Intentions

Ash Wednesday came and went and thus began the liturgical season of Lent. Every year I see people create short term, personal goals for themselves during Lent. Similar to New Years except these goals are only for 40 days and should focus on improving your relationship with God. However, after the 40 days, most people go back to normal. And a few years ago, that fact started to bother me.

In previous years I would give up chocolate or TV and do something to improve my prayer life (the specifics varied from year to year). It would be hard but then after Easter I’d go back to normal. Every. Single. Year. And then I started to think what’s the point of even doing or giving something up for Lent if all I’m gonna do is return to normal afterwards?!

That’s when I changed my mindset about Lent.

“Let today become the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.”

Lent should be something sacrificial but it should also create something sustainable. It should add abundance to your life and the lives of others. So this year I’m making a list of bad habits that I have and then making a counter list of good habits that can replace the bad ones.

Now I’m not gonna let you in on all my bad habits  but I will share a few things that I’m doing in hopes that it will help you have a fruitful and abundant Lent.

I am the snooze queen in the morning and it bothers me that I’m wasting so much time in bed. I just lay there because I’m comfy – I don’t even go back to sleep!!! I also have gotten back into the habit of checking my phone first thing which has not been good for my peace of mind.

So to get two birds with one stone: When my alarm goes off in the morning I will turn on my bedside lamp, turn off the alarm, sit up, and spend the first 5 minutes of my day reading spiritual development/prayer books. One of my good friends suggested using my lamp and sitting up since it helps her so she will be my accountability partner for my morning Lenten intention!

Another thing I’m doing is with my boyfriend. After we graduated college we realized that majority of the time we drank because other people were drinking and it was to be social aka “to fit in”. We also realized that whenever we do drink, even though it’s not heavily, we don’t feel as good the next day and we aren’t being the best we can be. So we are giving up alcohol for Lent and are each other’s accountability partners. If we want something to drink we’ll make tea or put our doTERRA citrus oils in sparkling water!

I have a list of other personal things but you get the idea  Research says it takes 21-30 days to break a habit and/or create a new one. So I’m replacing the bad with the good in my life and using Lent as a way to hold me accountable for the hard part of making sustainable change in my life.

If you’re still not sure what you’re doing for Lent, here are a few tips!

  1. Pick an area of your life that you want to make a long-term, sustainable change in. Questions to ask are: What in my life is holding me back? How can I be more kind and generous? What are ways I can serve others? How can I best take care of my body (your temple!)?
  2. Set a realistic goal for yourself. Know your limits, your temptations, and habits then plan accordingly.
  3. Tell someone! Have an accountability partner.

“Let today become the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.”

You know what to do. Now go do it.

Love and prayers,

Rene Schroeder, Director of Youth Ministry