Lent Your Way?

This year is really flying by!  I can’t believe we are already in March and it’s time for Lent.  I am not Catholic in any way but I have always been fascinated by how Catholics and the, “I’m only Catholic on holidays” Catholics celebrate this religious process.  The basic concept is denying yourself something for 40 days in an effort to draw you closer to God.  It’s not Biblical but it is what they believe.  I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t broken Lent within a week or actually avoided eating meat on Friday.  I wanted to take this a step further to see if people can go without something important to them for any time period all in an effort to draw themselves closer to God?  There are so many things we do on a daily basis that are such a habit that we don’t even realize we are doing them.  Humans are ritualistic and forget to function on thought sometimes because it takes too long to break cycles.

What if we challenged ourselves to spend a few days trying something else?  Doing something new or letting go of a vice that may be killing us in an effort to pull closer to God?  And for those who don’t or refuse to believe in God, doing all the same just to find some peace of mind or clarity?  I am not saying to do this for 40 days at a time but start small.  If you smoke, go a full day without cigarettes.  If you are a heavy drinker, cut back to once a week.  If you have a gym membership that you barely use, make an effort to start going once a week.  There are very big and small ways in our lives that we can make changes to find balance.  It all comes down to if we are willing or not.  I have challenged myself to get a lot of the stuff done around the house that needs it before it gets too warm outside.  I like to do yard work in late Winter/early Spring versus trying to hump around all summer in the heat.  I want to fully enjoy Summer this year.  My smaller more personal goal, not just for 40 days, is to spend more time each day with God.  I have found myself doing too much other stuff and then realized it’s just stuff.  I felt empty.

What will you be inspired to do?  Maybe it is time to let go of those old pains, get that big final cry out?  Maybe it is time to try something new – almost anything new!  Cliff diving in Mexico might not be your thing but wearing a dress for the first time in years might be your start.  Going on that first date, deciding to take things to the next level, planning to get married or working toward making your relationship or marriage stronger versus throwing in the towel, or remembering why you have always loved that person no matter what and finally making your lives become one.  It is never too late for any of this.  You are the starting point.

Whether it is for Lent, one week or one day, you should strive to cut away the old bad habits.  That is the only way new and positive habits  will enter your life and stick around.  What will you try today?

 

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Be a Mentor?

When we hear this word, it usually sparks the idea of volunteering to help young kids who need it.  Whether it is emotional, spiritual, physical, or torturing, there are a lot of kids and adults out there who are struggling.  They find it hard to stop the feeling of  drowning in life’s issues.  Being a mentor can be a great benefit to just about anyone – age is not a determining factor.  I know a lot of adults who could benefit from having a mentor in their life.  Sometimes you lean on a parent or other family member,  but sometimes it is good to have a more objective person who will tell you the things you need to hear that you may not be ready to face.

There are a number of great organizations that are already in place such as the Boys and Girls Club of America   and Big Brothers Big Sisters – These are just two of many places that are a great starting point if you are interested in giving back to the community.  When you visit their sites you can explore the other connections they have.  Also, do not forget about your local seniors.  A lot of nursing homes welcome volunteers to read, spend time with them or initiate crafts.  There is a lot to learn from the elderly community, and a lot of them barely get visits from their own family.  You could be the reason they feel vibrant again.

What about those 20-somethings you know who are trying to start their adult life?  How about those 30-somethings who may have to start over?  The 40-somethings who have put off life and are rushing to begin again?  The 50-somethings who are finding love again in various new areas of their life?  The 60-somethings who are fighting the big R word (retirement)?  The 70-somethings who have finally found peace?  And the 80-somethings who have realized that living is the best part of life that gets lost over the years?  There are so many facets of life that we often struggle with and feel alone in even among the closest of friends.  It can be hard to ask for help but it can be the most rewarding, even life changing in some instances.

I invite you to consider something.  When we put our own swords down, it is then we realize the weight we were carrying.  When you are busy helping others through their struggles, you realize how to prioritize your own things.  This is not to say we should ignore ourselves,  but sometimes we often get too buried in our own crises that we don’t see how to crawl our way out.  It causes a shield of ignorance.  I feel that helping and inspiring others to make the most of what life has to offer gives me purpose.  I feel that the more we band together, the better we all will be in the long run.

If you know someone who need something, reach out to them.  It could be someone to vent to, someone in need of career advice or what kind of flowers are right for their wedding.  Don’t place limits on things that don’t require one.

Help others.  Encourage others.  Love others.