I usually try to “give up” something for Lent each year.

I know it’s a Catholic thing, but it’s such a beautiful tradition to prepare for Easter.

And I don’t think the Catholics mind others joining in for that good cause: changing our hearts.

For those wondering what Lent is, here you go: “Lent is a 40 day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It’s a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. During Lent, we seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; we serve by giving alms; and we practice self-control through fasting. We are called not only to abstain from luxuries during Lent, but to a true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ’s will more faithfully.” (Quote from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, bold added by me).

Could there be a better cause?

Especially in preparation for Easter?

Anyway, this year I’m “giving up” or abstaining from chaos.

I know, weird, right? But my life has started to swirl a bit out of control lately. I keep thinking of good things to do, and then get busy doing them. In the meantime, people ask me to do good things. And I say, “sure!” because they are the best things and I know they’ll help me grow. And then there’s my calling at church and extended family and people from the Internet I want to connect with and friends I’ve lost touch with, etc.

Oh I want to do it all.

So I try to, and just so anyone else out there trying can know, it just doesn’t work!

Anyway, how in the world do you “give up chaos”? you may ask.

I’m doing it by adding in meditation, scripture reading, and boundaries each day.

Because when I add these things in, I am able to shift my priorities just so that seems to help more time enter into my day.

I have a goal to read the whole New Testament in 2023.

My friend bought me this book (from Deseret Book) because she knew about my goal:

Lucy accidentally added a little extra design to the front…

And I’m working on reading and internalizing a little bit each day.

It has awesome space for writing notes as I read:

It’s amazing what this does for my soul.

And it’s amazing that because it does all that good stuff for my soul it takes Lent to really push me to get my nose in that thing every day.

But I’ll take it!

As far as the meditation goes, I’ve tried meditation over and over again for years.

But I know it takes time and attention so each day during Lent I’m committed to take some time out to meditate and breathe every single day.

Isn’t it so interesting that sometimes you set a goal and you’re not really sure how you’re going to do it, and then a little miracle shows up to help you make it happen.

It turns out that a lady in our church congregation has recently attended two meditation retreats and actually asked me if she could come over and teach me some of the things she’s learned. Maybe she saw how frazzled I am (ha!) or maybe she just was led to do that as an answer to my prayer, but she came over last week and led me through a beautiful meditation after she explained all the 7 Chakras.

I’m trying to meditate and breathe for at least a few minutes every day outside.

And gosh, it does something for my soul!

Oh I have many more grand ideas, but I’m just doing two for these forty days because I know (from past experience) that I sometimes need to take baby steps.

As a side-note, another great way to prepare for Easter (aside from Lent):

Read The Robe.

I have written about it before, but I want to read it again in preparation for Easter this year. It’s such a beautiful, thought-provoking book!

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  1. This is great Shawni! As a life long Catholic, Lent has always been my favorite season in the church. 6 weeks of preparation taken directly from scripture, modeled after Jesus going into the desert for 40 days. He did that intentionally and we are taught to honor those intentions as well. I always focus especially on the meditation that he would have engaged in as a source of strength and discipline as well as to “reconnect” with Spirit. These days, in my family, we are all adults…gone are the days of “giving up” like chocolate or TV, now the goal is to give up things like anger or resentment and replace those with love and peace etc. It’s a special time to pilgrimage as well (I know you are reading Rohr as am I). It’s not so much the external trip to the desert that we take during Lent, but the internal one.

    1. I love this articulation, so beautiful. I love thinking of giving up things that hold us back and replacing them with love and peace. Such a beautiful practice.

  2. Lent is Christian (not only Catholic) and based on verses in Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Catholics choose to follow non-scripture Lenten rules important to their faith and community. Most people are more aware of these rules since menus are effected. Protestant churches I’ve attended encourage one to prayerfully use Lent to find ways to be closer to God, whether through giving up a certain food, intentional acts of kindness, daily prayer, etc. Either way, the focus is on the relationship with God.

    1. Thanks Kara, there is no separation between being Catholic and being Christian. Catholics are Christian too. 🙂

    2. Kara – you remind me of a past co-worker, who would continually tell me that she was “a Christian” but I was “just a Catholic”! Seriously!? Catholics are also Christian. We all believe in the same God.

    3. Thank you for the explanation, Kara. It’s all about the relationship with God and how amazing is that to have 40 days to focus on that. I love it so much.

  3. I was simply stating that Lent isn’t only a Catholic tradition, it’s a Christian tradition and includes those who are not Catholic. All Catholics are Christian but not all Christians are Catholics. There is a very distinct separation between Catholics and Protestants. Wars have been fought over the differences for centuries. You can research the differences and also search “The Troubles in Northern Ireland” for a recent example. I’ve attended Catholic and Protestant churches during Lent and find church history interesting. I am confused why you both seem defensive that Lent is Christian, not only Catholic. Using the term Christian includes more people than Catholic. Rhetorically speaking, why not use a term that includes more people who worship God? I’ll end the same way as my initial comment…”Either way, (Catholic or Protestant) the focus is on God.”

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