Lent is a Christian observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends six weeks later with Easter. During Lent, many Christians fast or give up a luxury to symbolize Christ’s suffering and 40-day journey in the desert.
You may be seeing social media posts about what people are giving up for Lent – coffee, chocolate, sugar. However, no matter what you give up, it’s the sacrifice that works to deepen your faith and reflect on your relationship with God. If you’re giving up things for your physical health, don’t forget to include those bad habits that hold back your mental health, too. Giving up these five habits will help renew your life and enrich your faith.
1. Cut down on social media. Social media keeps us connected, but it also reminds us of other’s anger. It makes us compare ourselves to others and makes our thoughts self-centered instead of outward to helping others. When you scroll your social media, focus on projects you want to help with or that will make a difference.
2. Stop trying to solve other people’s problems. When you take on others’ problems as your own, it drains your energy and robs them of a chance to figure it out. This denies them the chance to grow and become a responsible competent person. Remind yourself daily that if your child can do something on their own, let them do it. This saves you energy to take care of your own problems and gives you much needed free time.
3. Spend less with retail therapy. Many times, we spend money on random things we don’t need as a vice for dealing with our stress – whether it’s clothes, house accessories, or gadgets. Practice dealing with your stress during Lent. Before you randomly purchase anything, drink anything, or eat anything, ask yourself what you are feeling. If your answer is to feel less stress, address the stress. Ask yourself what you’re stressed about and try listening to music or going for a walk instead. Being drawn into retail shopping is a real thing and having financial stress is one of the major reasons people feel depressed about their life.
4. Changing who you are to be accepted by others who don’t care about you. When you begin needing approval from people who don’t care about you, you lose yourself. This is a leading cause of loneliness in our society. Giving your personal power over to people who don’t value you is dishonest and disrespecting the person you are. Stand up and be yourself. Use the energy you once gave away to more meaningful endeavors that will enrich your life. People respect those who respect themselves.
5. Give up trying to control others by giving them your opinion. Getting involved with other people’s views or social media posts is a waste of time. No one cares what your opinion is, so quit trying to give it to everyone. You cannot control others, but you can control your words, actions, and self-care. The best advice is not to give it unless asked for it and when you give it, be humble. Advice given from someone who is open about their own past failures is much easier to listen to than someone who knows it all.
Lent is a time to wrestle with ourselves as we examine the person we are becoming. Practicing behaviors that lead you to feeling better about the way you connect to yourself and others is a meaningful spiritual journey that will renew your life and enrich your faith