Monday, March 3, 2014

Lent (Part 1): Breaking Bad [Habits]



You think you have some bad habits? 
Probably don't even compare to these boys.


What are you giving up for Lent?  How did you choose? Gotta plan?

Did you know that the word Lent literally means springtime? An obvious time for growth and renewal. As Catholics, we view Lent as a time of breaking bad habits and giving up something. What if we started something new? Perhaps starting a good habit? A way to better ourselves and reconnect with God?

We are all human. We make mistakes. We try to correct them, then get discouraged by our own failures at doing so.  During Lent we are encouraged to: break bad habits as we decide to give up something in our life which is not healthy (spiritually or physically), this then enables us to sacrifice ourselves to God.

It's difficult to give something up, especially something you have really enjoyed and loved. This has a different meaning for everyone. Reflecting on our lives and taking a deeper look inside, we know what we must give up.  Many times it's right there in front of us and there's not even a reason to over analyze it. Yet, there's that voice inside our heads which reminds us the importance of 'live and learn'.  Allowing ourselves the freedom to live life, live in the moment, live and appreciate those around us. So are bad habits bad or can we use them to teach us something good?

When you give up something, there is the feeling of loss. Replacing it with something positive seems the most logical, but can be overlooked.  I think too often we overextend what we can promise and sacrifice to God and others. He is a loving God and he wants us to be our best. So, think about what you want to sacrifice, be realistic. How do you want to grow as person? Change is difficult, so focus more on forming good habits instead of the bad habits that drive you crazy. And you know what? If you mess up, there's a new day tomorrow.


The journey of life.


Perhaps you are this Christian who believes, personally, it is better to focus on forming good habits rather than breaking bad ones. Huh? Isn't that what happens when you break a bad habit, you transform it into a good habit? Not necessarily. It's all how you approach the issue.  Lean towards taking a positive spin on the whole experience. I saw this quote awhile back and it's stuck with me.



Sacrifice doesn't have to mean giving up something we must have, but a way of bringing more goodness to our lives. Perhaps spending more time reflecting alone, or focusing on having more quality time with your family, thinking about volunteering with those in need.  You will have to sacrifice what you would normally spend your time doing if you want to spend more time with your family or volunteering. For example, you might sacrifice your favorite TV show so you could play a family game once a week or sacrifice extra sleep to get up early and volunteer at a soup kitchen.


This notion of forming a good habit or two has always made more sense to me.  After reflecting about it, I have decided to form a good habit of reading an inspirational quote via The Lent App. from the Bible each morning or at dinner with my kids. I'm hoping to spark some great convo with them about God and what the Bible can teach us.

Growing up, my mom and dad would read "Our Daily Bread" at breakfast or dinner. I remember this little booklet filled with short personal stories from Christians and Bible verses for each day.  Sometimes my parents would read the whole short story, sometimes just read the scripture verse.  Some days we would talk about it, other days nothing was said, I'm assuming to let me think about it on my own. Which, looking back, I did more often than I realized.  I'm inspired by quotes and short stories of other people's lives. The good, the bad and the ugly. I think it's fascinating how some people will let you in, even for a snapshot of their life journey as they share how they have grown as a person... as a Christian. 

Share your story, help those around you, especially during Lent. It might just turn into a habit, a good one!  I think we forget how a simple smile, a genuine pep talk or even a warm hug can make all the difference. 

There is a great deal we can learn from each other about God.  I wish you all the best on your journey this Lent season. Whatever path you choose: to sacrifice in breaking a bad habit or focusing on forming a good one, remember it is all about feeling God's love and sharing that love with others.

The Lord has your back! Be a light for others and let them be a light for you.

Some helpful apps and websites for Lent:

3 comments:

  1. Beautifully said, Mandi!! We are eating meals off of the Rice Bowl calendar once a week--the kids idea. We are also taking a different focus as a family each week: no TV in the evenings one week; no sweets one week; no meat one week; go to morning mass one week…

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love these ideas!! Thanks for sharing Boone.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mandi, You are so gifted with words!! I treasure the times of us reading
    Our Daily Bread together. The journey of life quote inspired me.
    Love You, Mom.

    ReplyDelete