Preparing for Lent — What to Give Up and How
This year Lent begins on March 2 — Ash Wednesday. Lent serves as the 40-day period prior to Easter Sunday during which Christians are encouraged to give up something in their life as a recognition and tribute to Jesus Christ. Typically, Christians are supposed to give up something they enjoy daily to symbolize the sacrifice which Jesus made for his people. But this sacrifice can be easier said than done, if only temporarily. But it’s also a good opportunity to challenge oneself to give up something they probably should (that fast-food habit for example) for the sake of their health anyway.
Fellowship Square offers the following ways in which seniors can prepare for Lent and be successful in the days following.
Prior to Ash Wednesday, seniors should determine what they are going to give up and then make that item scarce. For example, if they have decided to give up soda during Lent, it’s best to rid the house of sodas prior to the first day of Lent. Out of sight, out of mind is a powerful tool to move any temptations out of view. It’s also a good idea to consider some substitutes when a craving hits. For smokers that are looking for a 40-day (or longer!) smoke out, they might use the aid of patches or gums that assist in quelching cravings.
Determining what to give up isn’t always easy. And really, it isn’t intended to be. So seniors that participate in Lent should use this as an opportunity to give up something they know isn’t the best for their health anyway. But oftentimes, it’s not so much the item (such as a soda or a cigarette) as it is the habit or ritual. The habit can be disrupted by creating a new ritual in the old one’s place. For example, instead of a cigarette or glass, or whiskey at 5 p.m. every night, try getting out of the house and taking a walk around the neighborhood. This not only creates a distraction, it develops a healthy new habit out of the old not-so-healthy one.
Another adage to keep in mind is “one day at a time.” Instead of looking of giving up the temptation for 40 days, just take it one day at a time. Seniors can also remind themselves why they participate in Lent and why it is an important element in their spiritual beliefs and journey. These things can help maintain perspective when wanting to give in to temptations. And remember, it’s only temporary… however, after abstaining from something for 40 days, there is already a great foundation for giving it up for good or only enjoying it on special occasions, such as a glass of champagne at a future celebration.
Fellowship Square encourages seniors to consider the positive ways that Lent can help motivate them to give up a bad habit — for a short time or for good! And when giving up something seems extra difficult, the Lord is always there to listen and offer support to help seniors stay the course.