Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent.

I know I usually take part in What I Ate Wednesday on Wednesdays but today I have no photos of

Now I don’t want to alienate any non-religious readers, or any readers with different religious views so if you don’t want to read this post I completely understand! Having said that I promise it isn’t a post solely concerned with religion.

But today I want to talk about Lent.

Because for me the idea is important.

Lent is the perfect time for making a special effort. For reflection. For renewal.

I remember one of the former priests at my church saying once that Lent shouldn’t just be an excuse to give up something, for example sweets, because that demeans the meaning of Lent, it represents so much more than that.

Now I have absolutely nothing against non-religious people using Lent solely as motivation to give something up, sometimes it can be useful to have that defined time period, especially as many people are simultaneously trying to give something up. But I do get irritated when fellow religious people do the same.

That very same priest said that it was better in many ways to give your time for something good, rather than just giving something up.

I like this approach.

I really think that this can work for anyone no matter their religious views or lifestyle.

For example if you are someone who is constantly working to help other people and never resting, you can take the time to do something caring for yourself. Or for people like me, who spend a lot of time focusing on your own life and problems (I do try not to be like this!) you can take the time, each day, to focus on doing something good for others. It could be something simple like making sure you compliment someone everyday, or it could be helping someone with something they struggle with, or it could be volunteering. The possibilities are practically endless.

I don’t think giving things up is always wrong though. I think taking the time to think about the meaning of Lent and then giving up something significant is a wonderful thing to do. I especially think giving up things which are harmful to you are important. Your body is after all the only body you are going to get, we need to take care of ourselves.

So this Lent, what am I going to do?

Well for once I have taken the time to stop and think about the meaning of Lent and about my own life.

There is a lot I can change for the better. I focused on being better.

1. I’m going to look after my body. This means no more junk food which is harmful for my body. It means limiting substances like caffeine and alcohol. This doesn’t mean that I am cutting out everything that some people would view as unhealthy! I just don’t want to eat anything that will make me feel guilty or harm the health of my body. I still plan on baking, I will still (hopefully) go out to the restaurant and I will still go for coffee. I just won’t eat bought, processed food which is full of harmful substances like high levels of sugar, saturated or trans fats, excess salt or potentially harmful chemical additives.

2. I am also  going to pay attention to my body’s natural signals which  means getting enough sleep each night. It means exercising in every way I can. It also means making sure I take the time to rest when my body needs it, not straining it too far. My body is a temple and I will treat it as one.

3. I am going to devote some time everyday for personal reflection. Time for prayer. Time for reflection on my day, what I did that made me happy, what I did that negatively affected me. Time for meditation and time for thankfulness. Taking this time everyday can help you to grow as a person, it can help you understand yourself and make you appreciate your life more.

4. I am going to do something positive for someone else everyday. Take the time to help someone. Compliment someone meaningfully everyday. Always be polite. Smile at people. Take the time to ask people how they are and really listen to them. This too is such an important part of growing as a person and can bring you a lot of happiness. Not only this but it is a chance to give something back to the world and to the people you love.

In a way they echo my resolutions this year. I guess this is because these are the things I want to do to become a better person. I want to them for me, for the people I care about and of course for God.

I don’t think these actions, these promises are uniquely relevant to Christians. I believe that everyone can implement actions like these in their everyday lives.

Even if you are completely and utterly atheist, making an effort to improve your life, to focus more on being happy and positive and to look after yourself, is so so important and really can make your quality of life so much better!

…..

I hope this post hasn’t been too deep for any of you and if you were put off by the religious content I apologise, I did try to make it fairly ambiguous so that it could mean something to all of my readers!

Are you giving anything up for Lent?
What are your thoughts on improving the quality of your life?
What efforts do you make to be happier in life?

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17 comments

  1. I love your plans for lent, they sound wonderful! Last year I gave up chocolate, but I’m still trying to think of something for this year…if only I could give up chemistry haha 😉

  2. Hi, I’m Alicia! Just came across your blog & wanted to say I absolutely LOVE this post, well said!! I agree, it’s so hard sometimes to fully understand the real meaning behind Lent when you just give up the same thing each year. I DEFINITELY feel it’s about rediscovering yourself, the person God intends for you to be and ACTING that way. ❤ I definitely plan on incorporating prayer/mediation each day for lent this year as well as make healthier eating choices. 🙂

    1. Hey Alicia, it’s lovely to have you visit my blog and post such a nice comment 🙂 Thank you for checking it out! I think your plan sounds brilliant, I am sure it will enrich your life with both your health and your faith 🙂

  3. Great goals/plans for Lent. I am not religious but I consider myself a spiritual being, if that makes sense. I love spirituality and belief systems because they teach, unite and inspire. The only reason why I’ve never been a fan of organized religion was because it divides 😦 which I don’t like. So no one’s posts of their beliefs would ever insult me, and I hope none of mine ever offend them 🙂 I love that we can all share our faith in different ways and learn something new in the process!

    I am also going to try and listen to my body more and eat healthier. I really want to change.

    I always try to do nice things for people. Sometimes it back fires but I keep pushing 🙂 yesterday I saw this old lady I met that has the same type of arthritis as my mom, I ran over to her all excited showing her that power of movement was hosting a yoga day for people with arthritis and giving her a brochure only to have her immediately deny the idea and then suck my energy dry with her negativity about life, people and her disease for the next 30mins. I tried to reach out to the “universal flow/God energy” to keep my heart open but sometimes you just have to walk away and let them live in the hell they’ve made for themselves.

    Sorry for this rant but I for some reason thought I’d share that with you 🙂

    Love this post!!!!

    1. Thank you Ali! I really love your attitude towards spirituality 🙂 I think you are so right that we can share our faith in different ways and learn new things!

      Don’t worry, you weren’t ranting 😛 I get really frustrated with people like that but at the end of the day, the person she hurts the most is herself. I think it’s lovely that you try to reach out to people though, it’s a really wonderful thing to do!

  4. For lent I am going vegan (because of my relegion). I will also try to be a better person, not to tell lies to read the bible and to pray more often! In regards on what I am doing to have a happier life, I have an interesting thought, we people tend to make goals, it is nice to have the list and to go over them but sometimes it is so hard to accomplish all of them, so I am trying first to set up real goals in a real time frame, I also made 2 rules for myself that should make me and mu husband happier, first rule: We can get angry during the day, be upset but we should never go to sleep angry on each other, keep talking until 4AM but dont sleep upset! the other rule is to stop saying “Its just the way I am” it is not if it hurts somebody, I can change and I can chnage for the better! Also, “I am sorry” sounds better than “Its just who I am”, sometimes to be happier you have to change!

    1. I think those are all really wonderful things both to give up and to begin doing more! I think those are some very good points. I definitely always avoid going to sleep on an argument and you are so right about apologising. I definitely think there is no excuse for the phrase ‘it’s just who I am’ – we can always improve and become better people! Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting 🙂

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with what your priest said! Even better put, God delights in obedience, not sacrifice. 😀 As long as we’re walkin’ in His will and always putting Him first because we want to, everything will fall into place. Great post Sophie! <33

  6. I’m not at all religious, but this post really gave me food for thought and I think that it applies to everyone. I think all of your points are fantastic, but I guess the last one is the one that I should really work on because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own life and become selfish.
    I’m not giving up anything for Lent this year. At school I was a bit crazy and gave up chocolate for Lent, and I ended up not eating it for more than 5 years!

    1. I’m glad that you found things to think about from this post, I wanted to write something that was just as accessible and inspiring to non-religious readers!

      I think everyone needs to work on the last one really! Plus doing things for others can really make you feel better about yourself too 🙂

      Wow that is pretty intense! I don’t know that I could do that!!

  7. Oh my goodness, I love everything you said in this post! This can definitely apply to anyone who is looking for and willing to make some positive changes in their life. Giving up your time to help others is a wonderful idea!

    Also, time for mediation, prayer, and giving thanks is so very important. I recently started making this a daily priority. It really helps in keeping a positive outlook on things in my life.

    Love Love Love this =)

    1. Oh thank you so much Nicole! I’m glad you found it inspiring 🙂 I think you those are brilliant things to make a priority! I completely agree that it helps with a positive outlook 🙂

      Thank you for checking out my blog and saying such lovely things!

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