Some people have a standard “thing” they do for Lent every year. I tend to like to try something different every year, and most years, I have NO idea what I’m going to do till the last minute! It can be hard to find something that strikes the right balance of “that’s a sacrifice for me” and “I’ll actually be able to do that.”
If you’ve put it off and are now scrambling for an idea, here are some to get you started. If there’s something that really speaks to you, but you aren’t sure you can do it for 40 days straight, try doing it every other day, or maybe once a week.
GIVING UP SOMETHING
- Give up Facebook, Twitter and/or other social media. If you don’t think you can go cold-turkey, limit it to, say, 15 minutes a day. (And delete the app from your phone, if you have a smartphone!)
- Give music in the car, or listen to only a particular type of music (such as Christian or classical).
- Give up hot showers or baths (you’d still take them — just cold ones!).
- Give up caffeine.
- Give up a favorite food or beverage. Or give up an entire food group — meat, sweets (OK, not really a food group!), etc.
- Fast more frequently. Maybe give up snacks between meals, or skip
- Give up using the elevator. (If you live or work in a high-rise, you may need to make some exceptions to this!)
- Give up your pillow. Some folks on this excellent post (which inspired a lot of these ideas) even gave up their bed. I’m going to say that falls firmly in the “something I’d crumble on after a week” camp for me, but if you’re up for it, that would be a heck of a sacrifice!
- Give up makeup, or curling/straightening your hair. (This only counts if you do those things in the first place!)
- Give up texting.
- Give up a favorite TV show, or going to the movies.
- Give up a favorite gadget, such as an iPad or e-reader.
- Give up negative speech — whining, complaining, yelling, and criticizing.
- Do a Bible study, either on your own or in a group. Or just read a chapter of the Bible every day. There are online Bible-reading plans you can sign up for, like those at YouVersion.
- Go to daily Mass (maybe not every day, but once or twice a week, in addition to Sunday).
- Pray a rosary (or just a decade of it) every day.
- Go to adoration on a regular basis.
- Find some way to volunteer to help the needy. Help out at a soup kitchen, a St. Vincent de Paul store, a crisis pregnancy center, etc.
- Pray the Examen daily.
- Try to become a better-catechized Catholic. Take some time each day to read apologetics books, listen to Catholic Answers, etc.
- Make it a point to pray for a certain “cause” every day; maybe for the souls in purgatory, the intentions of the Holy Father, an end to abortion, an end to the death penalty, or whatever is dear to your heart.
- Choose an activity from the Lenten 12 Pack — I just found this great resource! I especially like the “40 Bags in 40 Days” and “Tame the Tongue” suggestions.
(By the way, please forgive my recent neglect of this blog! My youngest, Natalie, is crawling now, and is proving quite the determined little troublemaker! I’m going to commit to update more frequently as part of my Lenten activities.)