40 Days of Gratitude Beth

Thinking Out Loud – A Challenge for Lent

It’s Thinking Out Loud Thursday with Penny’s Passion and Running with Spoons. Today I’m thinking about Lent. While we were all celebrating Valentine’s Day yesterday, it was kind of brushed aside that it was also Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. I promise this isn’t going to be a preachy, religious post, but I did want to reflect a little on Lent as I try to do it each year.

I have tried to do the whole “giving something up” thing before and have been successful (I’ve given up shopping during Lent a few times in fact), but I’ve found I don’t get much out of it when all is said and done. So a couple of years ago I started doing more of a challenge during Lent to try to live a better life. For example, last year I did 40 days of Kindness. But I’ll admit, as we got close to the beginning of Lent here, I was having trouble figuring out what I wanted my focus to be this year. I started kind of thinking maybe I just wouldn’t do anything. Then I saw this graphic floating around Facebook a few places, direct from the Pope himself. (PS – I don’t care if you’re Catholic or not, you have to admit, this Pope is the bomb. He rocks. My President might be a shit show, but my Pope is amazing.)

I love this. All of this. The ones I want to focus on specifically is “Fast from Complaints and Contemplate Simplicity.” You guys. I have been so negative this winter. I can admit it. Me and Grumpy Cat are like best buds. I’m not sure if it’s the weather or what. But I’m tired of it. I don’t want to be this person. So, I want to stop complaining. I think this goes well with “Fast from Bitterness and Fill Your Hearts with Joy.” If I stop complaining, I will be less bitter.

To put this into practice I’m going to start a gratitude journal. Each day I will write down something positive from the day. And I will read this list of “Fasts” each morning to remind myself to approach each day in a positive way.

I know it will be difficult at times. We’re in Breakfast World War 3 with my child right now. We’re gearing up for the busy season at work. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew on things. But I can try my best each day. And I can always start over again if I fall.

My old music group used to sing a song during Lent that had some beautiful words that kind of speak to this “We are sinful, we are prideful, we have all gone astray, deep within us, we are needful, of a clean heart, day by day. Turn our hearts, turn our minds, make us branches, holding fast to the vine, Patient Keeper, draw us to your tender mercy, Tree of Life.” I’m not perfect. I’m a sinner. We are all sinners. But we can turn our hearts and our minds and start over with a clean heart each day.

So here we go. Fasting from negative, trying for positive. Keeping a clean heart. And maybe, just maybe, if I work on this for Lent, I can keep it up even beyond. You just never know, but this is a good start.

Linking up with Penny’s Passion and Running with Spoons. 

6 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud – A Challenge for Lent

  1. I love this for Lent this year! I’ve seen this as well and I honestly say that our Pope is the best one ever! I have always struggled with “giving something up” as an adult. I love the idea of following this list he put out there. I have been doing the gratitude journal and it’s been so good and helpful to have each day!

  2. Oh, I like this idea. I hear a lot of people talk about doing gratitude journals – or writing things down every day in their planner – and how it really does make them see the good in the world, etc. Good luck with your challenge this Lent. 🙂 Oh, and this Pope really IS awesome.


  3. I grew up Catholic, but never ‘observed’ Lent… but I love the idea of being mindful about behavior so much more than giving up a certain food or what have you.

  4. I’m glad I didn’t sign up for this one: I was the most negative nelly this morning! But it’s true that negative thinking doesn’t provide us with what we need to live well. It’s junk food for our souls.

  5. Oh I love this. I’m not Catholic but I totally agree–he’s such a freakin’ cool Pope! I could definitely do more fasting from complaints, and also fasting from anger. I don’t think I’m an angry person but I feel like I get frustrated with my husband and kids so easily sometimes. I could certainly use more patience.

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