Tips for Lent

This Lent (2015) I decided to give up something that I find valuable , useful,  beneficial and “necessary”. I decided to give up using any and all cosmetics for 40 days and 40 nights. It’s only been five days and the truth is I already feel like it’s been an eternity. Giving up cosmetics for me is an opportunity to make myself vulnerable, taking my mask off and exposing myself (blemishes, undereye circles, puffiness and all) to the world. It signifies learning to build my confidence through God’s word and not worldly expectations. Knowing how anxious and self concious I’ve become since being barefaced reminds me why I have made the right choice in what I’m sacraficing for God.
The fact is Lent is a time that the church recognizes as a time to be reconciled with God. It’s a time for us to hand over our vices , habits, flaws and brokeness to God with the faith that He will begin the wonderful work that He had already started in our lives. Lent symbolizes our time in the desert. Jesus stayed in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights fasting without any food. Realistically in our day and age we cannot go without food for 40 days and 40 nights but that does not mean that we can’t sacrafice and fast in honour of God.
Spending time in the  “desert” essentially means dying to ourselves so that the Holy Spirit can live through us. What does dying to ourselves mean? It means giving up things of the flesh so that the spirit can shine through. It means sacraficing against our own wills and desires so that the soul can be filled with things of the spiritual world rather than the Earthly world.
When you make a sacrafice to God He sees your effort, he hears your prayers and brings to work in you because your are showing your faith and belief in Him.
The church teaches us that Lent is giving of ourselves as Jesus gave of himself. It’s okay to be anxious during this process. It’s human. However God did not give us a spirit of fear but of strength, discipline and love. Where we are weak he will be our strength. We only need to be still and let God be God.
When considering what you should give up for Lent consider this. Lent is a time of sacrafice, reconciliation and purification. Sacrafice something of worth and value to you. It’s not a time to sacrafice bad foods simply because you want to jumpstart your new diet (though God wants to help you with that too). If bad food is a vice that you value then yes it’s a great sacrafice! All in all it should be something  that you feel the absence of.  Other ideas for Lent are giving up partying, drinking, smoking, vulgar language, gossiping, bad attitudes, hot tempers, resentments, grudges. Some of which are impossible to give up on our own efforts which is perfect because they will draw us closer to God to seek his strength.
Other ideas that can be implemented can be spending time in prayer (even if you only spend a few minutes a day) until you become comfortable talking to God. Reading the bible. It’s easier than you think. Google “Today’s biblical reading ” and instantaneously you’ll have the daily scripture in your hands and can read it in less than 15 minutes.
If you’re just a beginner and Lent is a new journey for you remember this. God seeks you and longs to draw you close to Him. Don’t worry about if you’re doing it “right ” or not. Just spend time in private taking to God, asking Him to work on your heart and mind and spirit.
The benefits of drawing close to God  far exceed the comforts of holding on to the things you are scared to let go of.

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