Though I am not Catholic, my father grew up in a Catholic home and when we lived in Latin America we did attend the Catholic church. With all that being said I have practiced Lent for sometime. I personally do not think you need to be Catholic to practice Lent as it is more about sacrifice and as Christians we were given the ultimate sacrifice on Easter. In the past I have given up sweets and dessert and one year in high school I gave up bread. Thus far, that has been the hardest thing I have ever given up; no bread at restaurants before meals, no sandwiches, etc. Bread was something I really loved at the time so it was a huge sacrifice for me. While to many giving up something might seem rather petty or like a New Years resolution it really is very different during Lent. 3 Peanuts had a great reminder on her blog yesterday that really hit home with me: "As hard as some things have been, God will know if I cheat. If I cheat on a New Years resolution who am I accountable to? Myself. If I cheat on a Lenten sacrifice, I am letting God down. So, I choose carefully."
So, this year I have chosen to give something up and also to take something on. First, I am giving up shopping for unnecessary items. I know many of you are probably thinking that this is a petty thing to give up, but I LOVE to shop. That certainly is no secret from reading my blog or following me on Twitter. I am very good at spending money and I really do enjoy it. I especially enjoy running out and popping into stores during sales or in my free time. So for the next six weeks I will only be purchasing things I need...this includes food, cleaning supplies and toiletries. I will not be purchasing new clothes, shoes, fun make-up, home decor, etc. I know this will be difficult, but it is a very small personal sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. In addition to giving something up I am taking on going to the gym more often...as in five times a week. I have really fallen off the work-out train. I have never loved working out and have always had to drag myself to the gym. However, our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19) and we need to treat them as such. So, as much as I despise getting up early and hitting the gym or going later in the evening, that is where you will find me!
Finally, for those of you that have iPads and iPhones there is a wonderful Lent devotion on the "Holy Bible" app which I started today and I highly recommend. The devotion is six weeks and takes you through Easter and can be done in addition to other devotions you might be doing. I encourage you to check this out during the Lenten season. Are you giving up anything for Lent this year??