Lent starts and adults struggle with what to do or should do every year. It shouldn’t just be a litany of 40 things to do. It should not be a wallowing in misery . I think many folks associate Lent with being miserable. Really? Do you want to be miserable for 40 days? As a great spiritual adviser once told me, Lent should be your journey to a deeper relationship with Christ. Some of these tasks are short, some are long, some are more detailed.
Some people have been known to go without food for days. That’s not the only way to fast. You can fast by cutting out some of the things in your life that distract you from God. Fast by stopping negative behavior and adding in positive behavior. Stop talking negatively about yourself.
Many Christians use the whole 40 days to fast from candy, tv, soft drinks, cigarettes or meat as a way to purify their bodies and lives. Choose to sacrifice for the walk of the cross. A few take something on for Christ. Collect food for the needy, volunteer once a week to tutor children, or work for reform and justice in your community.
Here are 40 things to challenge yourself to a deeper meaning with the Savior.
- Choose to read Christian Fiction. Authors Karen Kingsbury, Tracie Peterson and Jacqueline Thomas are wonderful to start with.
- Remove all violent movies, music and tv programming from your viewing list.
- Pick a book of the bible to read each night.Spend 10 minutes a day in silence and prayer.
- Opt to listen to nothing but Christian or gospel music only.
- Opt to not say anything negative to anyone about anything.
- Choose to say a prayer every time you get angry.
- Opt to do one thing that you hate each day.
- Use your special gift or talent for a charity or someone less fortunate.
- Spend a day and night and fight the urge to complain.
- Make a list of the great gifts God has give you and say a prayer of gratitude for each individual blessing.
- Put change in the vending machine.
- Leave an inspiring note on someone’s car.
- Tell someone why they are special to you everyday.
- Donate food to a pantry.
- Build a thank you basket for an elder.
- Tweet or Facebook message a genuine compliment to three people everyday
- If you walk by a car with an expired parking meter, put a quarter in it.
- Compliment someone to their boss.
- Forgive someone, and never bring up the issue again.
- Write someone a letter. Like a real letter, on paper. And mail it!
- Bring in fun office supplies to liven up the workday for everyone.
- Write something nice on that person’s updates on Facebook constantly. Take one day and just say something nice to everyone.
- Sincerely compliment your boss, who probably doesn’t often get feedback from her reports.
- Answer that email you’ve been avoiding.
- Pay the toll for the person behind you.
- Write a nice comment on your friend’s blog.
- Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
- Put together a small herb garden for someone.
- Send dessert to another table.
- Text someone just to say good morning or good night. (that’s it.. good morning or good night nothing more or less)
- Tell your siblings how much you appreciate them.
- Bring a security guard a hot cup of coffee.
- Make two lunches and give one away.
- Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
- Be patient.
- Buy a meal for the person behind you in line
- Sit down and just be alone with God. Get a cup of coffee and read your favorite spiritual passage. Talk with Him about it.
- Be kind to someone you dislike.
- Let your friend vent and listen to her/his problems.
- Finally be present in the moment. God gives each of us a finite amount of time to do his work. Look around and be present in his grace of time he gave you.
Christians use Lent as a time of intentional prayer and intentional living. Live with faith hope and charity these next forty days.