Why You Might Want to Reconsider Your Lenten Sacrifice

Do you want your jeans to be looser or do you want to be stronger in your faith?

Do you want your jeans to be looser or do you want to be stronger in your faith?

Happy Fat Tuesday / Ash Wednesday! In case you didn’t know, I was born and raised in the Catholic faith. Every year, many Catholics (and even some non-Catholics) participate in giving something up for Lent. This might include fasting, abstaining from meat, giving up ice cream, or if you were “super disciplined”, sweets altogether. I often hear of people giving up some of their favorite foods or ‘fear foods’ with the belief that this will make them a better human, and closer to God. I personally remember a time where I was almost envious of a fellow classmate who was able to lose 5 lbs over Lent by giving up chocolate….which hello!? Totally defeats the purpose.

As we reflect on what to ‘give up’ or sacrifice this Lenten season, let’s take a moment to instead reverse engineer. What is it you want to accomplish at the end of 40 days? Do you want to feel praise for telling people how you lost weight because you gave up ALL sweets and snacks? Do you want to feel deprived? Or do you instead want to feel energized? More connected? Closer to your higher power and stronger in your faith?

Instead of using this time where it seems ‘socially acceptable’ to restrict food, consider asking yourself, ‘what is my honest intention behind this sacrifice?’ If you don’t feel you are doing it for the right reasons, there are many other non-food-related things you abstain from to help you feel closer to Him:

  • Social Media (one specific platform or all of them)

  • TV/Netflix

  • Gossipping

  • Complaining

  • Eating out —> then donate what you don’t spend to charity

  • Shopping —> see above

  • Alcohol

  • Being late

  • Lying

  • Negative self-talk

If this still doesn’t spark energy, and you too don’t love the idea of ‘restriction’ check out these ideas of what you can ADD. If you find yourself setting body/food focused ‘goals’ hidden as a Lenten sacrifice, you are missing the point. These ideas can also help you achieve the same outcomes at the end of your 40-days:

  • Go to church every Sunday

  • Go to church an additional week day

  • Go to confession

  • Volunteer

  • Daily gratitude journal

  • Pray every night before bed

  • Say a decade of the rosary every morning

  • Attend Stations of the Cross

  • Read a spiritual/personal development book

  • Meditation

I have participated in Best Lent Ever the past few years which has been pretty cool! They send you a daily email with a focus, video, and prayer for the day. You know I am all about a checklist, so I love this daily reminder!

Remember, you have the freedom to make the decision that is right for you. You also do not have to share this with others. Your personal spiritual journey is for you, so try to avoid the (often unintentional) comparison game when talking about this topic. Do you boo, because at the end of the day, that is what matters most!

Please share this article with a friend who also needs to hear this message. Drop a comment below what your thoughts are on this topic!