Yes, Lent is upon us again.
Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday. I even bought a king cake to share with my first grade team for the occasion. I had originally planned in making one, but that kind of went out the door after I realized how much work I need to get done today to be ready for class this week. Honestly, I don't think anyone will be upset that the king cake isn't home made. Free cake/pastry is typically a crowd pleaser in any form. :)
I am actually really looking forward to Lent this year and the season of sacrifice and penance. This school year has been incredibly hard on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My hope is that I can use this season of Lent to refocus on what is important in my life and let go of those distractions which rob me of my happiness.
This brings me to what I plan to give up. I spent a good deal of time trying to think of something that would challenge me to really focus in a God over the next forty days and get me away from this "poor me" attitude I've been sporting. As a result, I've chosen two different "sacrifices" for myself.
1. I'm giving up take-out food/treats. - I chose this one in an effort to give me an opportunity to focus on my bad habit of laziness and apathy when it comes to food. My husband and I both work full time and have fallen into a bit of a rut where we order pizza or pick up fast food way too much - at least three times per week. Neither one of us have been making good, conscious choices about what we are choosing to fuel our bodies and, combined with stress from work, our health is suffering because of it. Hopefully, by the end of Lent this sacrifice will have helped me reconnect with my love of cooking and the heart of service inherent in cooking for those I love, as well as a more mindful approach to eating and my/our health.
2. I am giving up 40 minutes of my day for quiet time/daily devotion/prayer. - This Lenten sacrifice was actually a suggestion from one of my parish priests after a conversation about my struggles this year. It is a practice I have wanted to establish for myself for years, but for whatever reason it has fallen by the wayside. It's easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day demands on our time and forget to spend time just being still and quiet to listen to God. My plan is to begin by keeping a prayer journal (since writing is my thing) and reciting the Rosary each day. I might change it up and go to adoration or read a book about a specific saint or the Pope. No matter what, it will be time away from Facebook, TV, Pinterest, other people not focused on prayer and reflection, where I can spend time listening to and learning about God.
Of course we will also be abstaining from meat of Fridays and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I'm very much looking forward to the Friday Fish Fry hosted by the Men's Group each week and stations of the cross in the sanctuary afterward. The first will be a great way to fellowship with other parishioners (like the awesome new friends we made at the new parishioner dinner party our parish priests hosted last week) and the latter will help with keeping our focus where it needs to be during this Lenten season.
What are you doing during Lent this year? Are you making any Lenten sacrifices? Do you like king cake?