The Other Lent Post

I’ll let you in on a secret, I stole the topic idea for this post from Anne. It seems like I’m writing about Lent first, but really she did, so I won’t take that credit. However, Lent starts today, so I’m writing about it today.

Growing up, my family went to Catholic Church, so Lent is familiar to me. But recently, I’ve been a part of a non-denominational Christian community, one that doesn’t really follow all of the stricter, traditional practices that Catholics go through every year. So Lent has been a little lax as of late.

Going from being Catholic to Non-Denominational is like being a kid away from home for college for the first time. You have to wonder what rules to follow and you get to really address why. Now, to clarify, part of the reason I’m Non-Denominational is that I never really felt all the “traditions” at the Catholic Church seemed right to me. Not right as in correct, but right as in they didn’t fit me and my faith. It’s a complicated concept, but here I am.

But I think Lent is actually one of the practices that the Catholic Church follows that I liked. The idea of sacrificing something for 40 days, just like Jesus had gone without for 40 days while tested after he was baptized, always makes me feel closer to God. It makes the celebration of Easter a bit more special too, which is something that I think needs to be revived in my life.

I had been thinking for a while that I should bring the practice of Lent back into my life, but wasn’t sure what to give up (or pick up) for the 40 days. I did some searching online for ideas, and found one that I really liked that I thought would be challenging for me.

I found buried in a list of other great ideas, one person said that for Lent, they wanted to really focus on treating their body as a temple. This is such a great concept in my mind, because it goes way beyond just wanting to give up sweets or soda (though those are also great!) I liked the concept so much, I’ve decided to pick it up as my 40 day “challenge” if you will.

So what does this mean for me? Well, I’ll be making sure to treat my body much better than I have recently. I’ll be fueling it with healthy food, hydrating it well, taking care of my hair and skin, building up my strength through exercise, staying away from toxic people, avoiding toxic thoughts, keeping up my appearance and doing my best to stay bright. Hopefully by the end of the 40 days, all of this will be habit and my temple will stay strong all year long!

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The One Word Challenge

So going along with the New Year’s resolutions, my church does this thing where you are challenged to pick one word that you want to focus on to lead your life during the year. Of course, since it is a church thing, usually people choose words that are related to our faith, or that help us to connect better to God during our year ahead. For example, my pastor last year chose the word “generous”. Through this word he reminded himself to be more generous with his time, help and even his money throughout the year of 2015.

Although this is something that I learned about through church, I think it’s an interesting concept that anyone could use to make a bit of change in their lives this year. Think about the usual way people make resolutions… it’s a list of things that sound absolutely wonderful, losing weight, getting healthy, spending less, getting organized, making yourself new. But the list grows long for most people and pretty soon all of those wonderful changes you would like to make are overwhelming. It’s tough wanting to be the best you can be when there’s so much to focus on to get to that point.

I think what works great for the “One Word” idea is that you focus on this single idea, but at the same time, one idea can impact so many aspects of your life if you let it. You can make a widespread difference to your life without having to overwhelm yourself with so many goals.

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Slightly blurry picture of my pretty church…

So after getting the challenge to choose my one word, I did some digging, both in my soul and in my life generally and I discovered that something I really wanted to achieve for myself was to become that person who everyone can feel comfortable with, to really stop being so negative, stop bringing myself down (and bringing others down indirectly). I want to be able to hold my head up high and take on every situation with grace, and really I want to show my faith through my every day actions.

The word that kept coming to me while think about all of this was “Light”. To be a light in a world continually becoming darker is something that I’d really like to accomplish. I think it’s fitting in my life, since I work with light so much in my photography, and I think it’s a general enough word that I can really use it to make some much needed changes for myself.

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So I’m curious to know, if you could focus on One Word to make some changes in your life, what would it be?