Years ago I read an article about adding something at Lent instead of fasting or giving up something. I liked the idea of that for many reasons. So I considered what that might look like for me, and I decided to reach out to one (different) person a day (usually by text or email) and let them know that I was thinking about them and praying for them. It was a rich season of connection that really meant a lot. Another year I decided to make every effort to compliment one person a day, and as much as it was possible, complimenting a stranger. That formed a habit in me that I still practice today without really thinking about it.
If you’re someone who observes Lent in any way, you may consider adding one of the above or here are some other ideas to think about:
- Each day complete a household chore that someone else usually does.
- Volunteer weekly at a local organization, your church, your kid’s school, etc.
- Read for an hour every day.
- Take a prayer walk every day.
- Make something for a local shelter, daycare, or hospital.
- Spend 30 minutes a day doing something creative (knitting, painting, practicing the guitar, etc.)
- Spend each morning in prayer and quiet solitude or meditation.
- Attend church every Sunday during Lent (if that’s not something you regularly do).
- Give $1, $5 or more to something each day like the tip jar at your favorite cafe, an online fundraiser, a homeless person you pass outside, etc.
- Set apart a time for uninterrupted (devices away!) conversation or a meaningful activity with your family, kids, friends, etc. each day. Pick one for each day or plan it with a specific person/group every day of Lent.
- Read the same Bible chapter every day and see how your perspective changes throughout the Lenten season.
- Practice one random act of kindness every day.
- Add a routine that you struggle with (a set bed time, eating breakfast, drinking enough water, lay out your clothes, etc.)
- Mail a card/note to someone each day.
- Take 20 minutes at the end of each to reflect and journal your joys from the day.
I think you get the idea. Lent doesn’t have to be a subtraction, but can also be an addition. Be creative when you think about how you want to spend the Lenten season. For me lent is a time to stop, reflect, think about my year, think about who I am, intentionally take time to clear my head, consider changes that need to be made to my attitude, repent from any sins that have become a habit since last year, change a routine (whether not doing something or adding something I don’t normally do), and focus on our Savior’s ultimate sacrifice for me and what that truly means. I encourage you to do the same.
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