10 important things to consider during Lent
Every year we give something up for Lent. Sometimes picking what to give up is hard and other times we consider doing something extra to really immerse ourselves in what God has for us - but what are our options?
What are our options during Lent? (Shutterstock)
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lent isn't just about giving something up for a time. It's about giving of ourselves for the sake of getting closer to God.
We need to give up certain vices to make extra time to communicate with our Savior. Though giving up something and giving more of ourselves to God is a wonderful opportunity to commune with God, it is perfectly acceptable to take things a step further.
Here is Catholic Online's list of ideas for you to fast and ways to give more of yourself.
5 Things to Fast
Fast from social media (IgniteSocialMedia).
Let's face it, we've all been there. Something is happening - perhaps a birthday party, friendly gathering, a graduation or some other important social situation, yet we have our phone in our hands and we're checking our Facebook page, posting something to Instagram, or sending a tweet.
Put down the phone, temporarily delete the apps and free yourself from the technology dependency for 40 days.
Gossiping is not what God wants us to do (Pinterest).
Gossip is one of the best things to give up during Lent - and continue to give up for the rest of your life.
It can be difficult to keep from spreading news, but the reality is that too many of us spread news we have no right to spread, or that is based on assumption rather than facts.
Do yourself a favor and give up what is unfortunately a socially-accepted form of bad-mouthing.
Criticizing people is NOT of God (Psychology Today).
As with gossiping, criticizing others is socially acceptable but it shouldn't be. For Lent this year, consider keeping your words in check.
If you feel like saying something negative about someone - including yourself - think twice and keep your mouth shut.
Recall the old adage: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
Eating at restaurants (FramePool).
Giving up opportunities to eat out at your favorite restaurant certainly makes a difference in our lives and our wallets!
Instead of treating yourself to a nice meal at a restaurant, consider making yourself something at home. The time it would normally take for you to get ready and drive to eat out can be spent preparing something with a loved one or communing with God as you cook for yourself.
Dessert! Everyone loves desserts!
Whether your post-dinner treat consists of a bag of chips or a giant banana split, consider setting it aside and taking that time to pray.
God wants to hear from us all, so why not carve out a little time before bed to get full of the Holy Spirit, rather than a sweet treat?
5 Ways to Give More
Volunteer your time (MercyDrops).
Whether you choose to feed the hungry, clothe the homeless, walk shelter dogs or teach children how to read, volunteering is an excellent way to show the masses what God's Love looks like.
By offering your most valuable commodity - time - you are projecting God's heart and making a difference in your community.
Pray for the sick (Prezi).
Pray for the sick
God has called us to pray for those who are ill, so why not set a goal to do so daily? You don't need to physically go to them, but obtaining prayer lists is a simple matter.
You can also pray for the state of your community, family, schools, politicians and more. Don't feel that you need to limit yourself!
Join Bible study (portofgrace).
Not only will you understand God's Word on a deeper level, but you will be building healthy relationships with those who also choose to attend.
Knowing the Holy Scriptures gives you more-informed opportunities to spread the Truth to non-believers and can strengthen your personal relationship with God.
Complement people (WikiMedia Commons).
Everyone appreciates compliments and a kind word from a stranger can make the difference between a bad and terrific day.
Take a moment to give a stranger a few kind words. Maybe their hair looks really nice, you admire a woman's choice in boots, a man's beard looks rather impressive, your mailman's smile makes your day or perhaps your hairdresser's outfit really hits the mark.
There are thousands of ways to compliment people we interact with every single day, so why not take advantage of that?
Go to Mass (W. Mass Catholic Voices).
Mass is usually available several times each day. Attending more than your usual number each week can open your eyes to new opportunities, educate you on a deeper level and can help you build relationships with other believers.
There can never be too much of God's Word in our lives!
Though there are ten options to consider during Lent, there are thousands more out there. What you choose is entirely up to you, but if you or someone you know is in a rut, please consider these options.
Like our list? Check out our other top lists on how to find joy, must-read news stories of 2015, The top 10 places Christians are persecuted, Classic movies every Catholic teen should watch, 5 New Year's resolutions all Catholics should aspire to, Christmas Trees Around the World, sex, lifting your spirits, dealing with anger, love, common misquotes, how to give and healing.
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