Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Great Lenten Experiment

So, I've been thinking a lot about what to give up for Lent, and I haven't been able to figure any thing else out.  Most of my go-to stuff is either not an issue this year because I've already pretty much given them up (Starbucks for instance), or because I have to use it for work this time around (Social Media).  So, I've been racking my brain for what to give up for Lent.

Usually, I take something on and give something up--I read a book, add a prayer discipline, etc. in addition to giving something up. It is because of Lent several years ago that I still refrain from listening to music in my car on the way to work: I use that time for prayer instead.  I have also had some drastic failures...One year, I gave up all land animals for Lent.  I was able to make it through lent, but I hate fish.  I ended up eating a lot of tuna and meat-less meals.  I don't think I touched tuna again for close to a year!!!  Since then, I have set my sights on things that are less weighty: it has become a reset time for me.  I give up those things that I know are items that tend to eat up more and more of my time as time goes on--For many years, it was TV, and then it became Facebook/Social Media and Starbucks.  But, I have already cut Starbucks this year, and I am in charge of a contest at work that is using Social Media during the month of March.

Even though I'm feeling the creep of social media,  I can't cut it completely, so that isn't really a good Lenten discipline this year.  So, I think that I'm going to try something that I've always wanted to try...I'm going to make Lent a "Buy Nothing" Month.  Of course, I know that I will still need to buy food and gas, but basically, unless it is a necessity, I'm not going to buy it. My goal will be to stay under $200 for necessities each month for the (almost) two months of lent. Even then, I suspect that I'm not going to need much from the grocery store during Lent--My pantry is fully stocked, and I keep buying things that are already in the pantry because I don't know what is in the way back!

Really, the hardest part is going to be refraining from eating out, as I eat out more than I should--I often don't feel like cooking when I get home.  I think that I'm going to need to be better about cooking on the weekends so that I can eat the leftovers all week long.  I'm also going to need to be better about telling friends no when they mention going to eat after running.  At least I will have the excuse of, "Sorry. I gave it up for lent."

Ash Wednesday is March 5th this year

The real question is what to do with the money that I don't spend...One of the traditional disciplines of Lent is almsgiving, but it would also be nice to pay off more of my debt, so I can't really give it all away.  However, I will be upping my giving from the money that I'm saving.  This is going to be fun and very informative.

The three traditional disciplines of Lent in Preparation for Easter: Fast, give, and pray.

What are you giving up for Lent?  Are you taking anything on?  How do you prepare for Easter?