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?