How do I pick something for Lent

Lent starts today.

Some of you are leading groups who will be reading Lent for Non-Lent People. You may have people who ask, “How do I figure out what to give up?” Or you may be wondering yourself.

A couple general ways to think:

  • andrewlaughingSimply ask yourself, “What helpful, beneficial action do I know would help my relationship with God and others, but I just forget to do?” Then do that during Lent.
  • Set aside fifteen minutes. Go to a place where you won’t be interrupted by others. Say out loud, “God, is there something that you’d like me to do or not do for a few weeks that would help me hear you better?” and then just listen to what goes through your heart. (Seriously. I know that your mind will race. You will run through all the things that you hope it isn’t. But if you ask again, you will have a growing awareness of one or two things that are possible. Pick one. Just pick one.)

Or, you can get specific:

Read the questions below. See what kind of argument starts in your thinking. Ask yourself and God whether that argument tells you something about some growing that needs to happen. And then consider making a change, just for the next 7 weeks.

  • How often do you ask others for advice before you ask God for advice? How could you add in the God conversation first?
  • How often do you turn to food when faced with a difficult conversation? How could you turn to God?
  • How often are you getting riled up as you read something in Facebook or Twitter or the newspaper? How could you back away from the turmoil?
  • How often each week are you specifically thanking God for specific things in your life? How could you add in gratitude?
  • How often do you sit in a chair for fifteen minutes and read something from the Bible and say to God, “Is there anything in this that you would like me to follow up with?”
  • How many weeks do you take a day and use it to stop working and simply live with your family and friends?
  • Who are you bitter at? How could you learn to forgive other people as a way of working up to releasing that bitterness?
  • How often are you giving time or money to God?

Be specific in your next step. For example, “During the next seven weeks, each time I get to Friday evening, I will light a candle and put away my work for 24 hours.”

Let me know if this list helps.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

One thought on “How do I pick something for Lent

  1. I’m reading a book in which the author makes the radical claim that Jesus was serious when He said, “Don’t judge.” He argues that each time we judge we’re essentially claiming to be God…the whole original sin thing.

    I’m not silly enough to think I can give up judging for Lent, but I CAN commit to a heightened awareness, to stopping whenever I catch myself judging someone, or myself, and talking to God about it.

    Because that’s really the point, right? The talking to God more part?

    I’m not good at that. Oh, wait…that was a judgement. 🙂

    Like

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