We are officially one week into Lent and I feel like for once I am doing ok with maintaining the upkeep of my 40-day promises. This is usually a time where I am so excited about the start of a new year – new exercise plans! new diets! getting sleep! – that I tend to pile my Lenten goals on top of my New Years goals to make myself one overwhelmed, over committed, over tired person and to be honest I usually give up on everything about half-way through Lent because I just can’t handle it all anymore.
This year I took a new perspective. I took a long time to mull over my intentions for this new year and after doing so I felt like I should try and focus on some of those goals rather than pile on MORE to do and work on. Sometimes I forget that my faith life and my daily life are the same thing. I prioritize my to-do lists and commitments over my connection with God more often than I should and then my prayer life and vocations tend to be compartmentalized into this tiny little box that is only opened up at night in the form of a five minute prayer before ultimately passing out on my pillow (sometimes before I even finish my prayer). Looking at this Lenten season as a way to focus on certain aspects of my overall plan for the year was more motivating than in years past. I already have an entire list of things I want to accomplish in my spiritual life this year – why not take these next 40 days as a way to improve upon those habits as well as integrate my spiritual life and daily life together, because they really should be identified as one cohesive unit anyway.
I thought I would go ahead and share exactly what my Lenten goals are for this year to keep myself accountable and who knows, maybe even provide some inspiration for someone else. I really enjoy reading about other people and their plans and goals (especially the planning process itself). I know that Lent has already begun but it’s never too late to reevaluate your plan and make some new commitments if you’re feeling called to do so.
ALMSGIVING | Giving my whole, present self to my friends and family. I have developed a terrible habit of checking text messages and notifications around people and it needs to stop. When there is a lull in conversation I don’t want to be known as the person that automatically whips out her phone for entertainment. I want to enjoy the learning moments with my daughter during the day and really enjoy the quality time and conversations I have with my husband at night. I also want to focus more on serving my friends and family in any way that I can. Whether that be spending the day snuggling a sick toddler, making sure my husband is content and relaxed at home, or helping a friend in need with a meal or something else they need provided. I realize these aren’t necessarily the traditional ways to give alms but it’s what I can personally do in this season of life.
FASTING | I feel like I just need to come out and say that I am the worst as fasting. I was so excited when I was pregnant with Madeline because I learned that I was not expected to fast in the traditional sense of the word. (My hanger is a very real problem.) Because I’m pregnant once again I’ve decided to give up a habit that has formed this pregnancy…sugar. I was having a hard time gaining weight in my first and second trimesters so I took it upon myself to delve into a nightly bowl of ice cream or other sweet indulgences throughout the day. I just recently started participating in a health and fitness challenge for a bootcamp ( I. Heart. Goals.) and realized how bad my sugar intake has gotten! Because my weight gain is back on track I am limiting myself to one dessert/sweet treat a week. This has already proven itself to be one of the harder goals I’ve set this Lent, offering up ice cream and chocolate is no joke for a pregnant lady!
PRAYER | I have always loved journaling as my main form of daily prayer but after getting married and having a kiddo I have found myself lacking in energy at the end of the day to actually open up my journal and write. But I am not lacking in time. I thought I was but I just wasn’t looking hard enough. I am going to take the first 30 minutes of nap time everyday to journal, pray, reflect, and sit. I’m really hoping this is a habit that sticks after Lent because I have struggled with making any sort of daily habit like this in my prayer life for so long. After a week of doing this I’ve also found that it makes me use the rest of nap time more effectively and more eager to get things done.
I also thought I would share a few resources I’m using this Lenten season. I know that I have mentioned to friends and family before my love of the Blessed is She ministry. I have loved connecting in an online ministry that I can access anywhere. They have also provided spiritual resources to use during Advent and Lent that I have so adored using to guide my prayer life. I am using their Lenten workbook and stations of the cross cards as daily motivators during this time. I know both of those resources aren’t available anymore but I have also been using their daily devotional emails alongside these resources and you can sign up for them at anytime – subscribe here! I am also participating in a bible study with my moms group at church and have loved it so far. We are using the book Mary: Virgin, Mother, and Queen by Fr. Mitch Pacwa and while it’s a great study to discuss with other people, it’s also one I could envision using on my own. For some blog inspiration: I loved reading Haley’s Lenten Liturgical resources post as well as Britt’s list of resources that she is going to use with her family.
I hope your Lent is off to a great start and pray that this season brings you a much needed time of spiritual reflection and inspiration. If you have any resources for spiritual development or goal-setting I’d love to hear about them! .