Discernment, Seasonal Reflections

How to make Good Lenten Resolutions

how-to-make-good-lenten-resolutions

How can you be sure that your Lenten resolutions this year have you on the right track? Will you be able to accomplish them?

How do you gauge if you had a “good” Lent? What is necessary to “have a good Lent”?

So, many questions, one simple answer.

Let God Design it for you!

What??

I know. It’s so simple, it’s complicated.

What does it mean to allow God to design your Lent?

Did you know that God desires unity in your life? He wants you to be at peace. He wants you to have one sole purpose that moves you.

Everything that you do – YES, EVERYTHING (especially Lent Resolutions)– go to serve that purpose. Even how fast you put away the dishes, whether you make your bed or not, and what apps you have on your phone begin to matter as you start honing in on the plans He has for you.

Your Resolutions should not be something you do ON TOP OF whatever else you are doing with your life. They should be something you do BECAUSE of your life. They are a simple choice to prioritize God over everything else that is “competing with Him” in your life.

What if I’m not Catholic?

NOTE: Yes, Lent is a historically and fundamentally Catholic practice, but the concept is universal. It is something all Christians should embrace to experience a deeper, more rewarding Spiritual life.

Dare I say Spiritual Transformation?

Yes.

Yes, I dare to shout it from the rooftops. Don’t let “religion” hold you back from trying something that might just be the BEST thing that ever happened to you!

3 Criteria for Good Lenten Resolutions

Lent isn’t about picking a random hard thing to do, like giving up Facebook and Chocolate (although those could be means to doing something even greater), its about LISTENING to your heart and figuring out what stands between you and the goal… which of course is simply closeness with Him… and then resolving to do whatever it takes to eliminate and overcome whatever obstacles are in your path.

Here are some diagnostic questions to help you discern if your resolutions have you on the right path…

1) What season are you in?

Do my resolutions support my season (as opposed to making it harder)?

Are you a busy parent with young children? Are you struggling with infertility? Maybe your difficulty is your marriage? Maybe it is your job? Your friendships? Your self-acceptance?

Embracing your season is a really good place to start when you think about what God is asking for your Lent. Resolve to spend more time savoring your kids, to tackle difficult projects without procrastination, or to spend more time in prayer asking God to show you what He is trying to teach you in your current season.

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2) Are you avoiding God’s plan?

Often we know what God really wants of us but intentionally plan to do something different because His plan either seems too simple or too hard.

Lent is a beautiful opportunity to analyze our lives according to His purpose. Its so sad that we are willing to spend so much more time and energy avoiding God than we would following Him.

Have I been trying hard to do anything that seems contrary to accepting God’s plan for my life at the moment? This could look like anything where I am trying to control the situation rather than trusting God to to act in my life (ie. chemically inducing or avoiding pregnancy, maintaining unhealthy relationships with people, work, or pastimes, constantly repeating the same known weak or immoral behavior, refusing to embrace your age or state in life because of a desire to shirk responsibility, etc)

3) What is He calling you to do?

Are there unhealthy habits He is asking you to break? Are there relationships that need to be healed or severed? Is God asking you to be more generous with your time or your resources? If service is leaving you empty, maybe He asking you to seek Him more deeply on a personal level? Or is He asking you stop expecting to be cuddled in His lap in order to go out into the world to do more service? (Read also: Spiritual Dryness)

Whatever it is, God’s plan will challenge us to step out of our comfort zone.

Sample Lenten Resolutions

Here are some sample resolutions that are always good places to start no matter what you are working on this year. Just personalize them and make them specific to your individual situation.

This will look different for every person.  For some it could mean not listening to the radio in the car, or changing the station to something more reflective. For me, it almost always means a conscientious effort to stop complaining and to not speak at the same time as my husband, or to reiterate what he says, even if I am excited.

This could be fuel for your call to mission, or part of a call to grow draw closer to Him. Your prayer will be different based on your season as well.

Also, consider joining this year’s Lent Retreat (special invite at the end of this email), or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO we will have a specific week on prayer.

This isn’t fasting for fasting sake (ie. giving up chocolate or coffee), this is for one of three reasons:

  1. To grow in self-mastery
  2. To experience solidarity with Christ in the desert (or those less fortunate)
  3. To petition for strength that does not come from ourselves or the food we eat (in order to accomplish something we haven’t been able to conquer on our own – ie. breaking addictions, petitions for “impossible” causes, a increase in love, a change of heart, or the grace to accept things as they are.)
  • More Almsgiving

Almsgiving isn’t about giving some money to a noble cause. It is about giving MORE than your means comfortably “allow”. It isn’t about how much money you give, but rather that you give EVERYTHING. It is about giving your widow’s mite and trusting that God will provide.  Almsgiving is symbolic of EVERYTHING.  It means that God has complete control of your time and your finances and that EVERYTHING you do is in service to that – even when it comes to buying groceries. Buy what is good and necessary but do not buy more than you need. Do not buy on whims, or waste anything on frivolous purchases.

This is very linked to almsgiving. Our time is our most precious possession and how we use it shows whom we serve. Do we serve Him with our time? Or is my time mostly spent in service to myself? Or am I trying to serve people? or this world?  Is my work more important than God? Or is God the source of my work?

A Special Invitation

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