Why Everyone Should Practice Lent

Lent is a Christian thing. Well, it’s a thing for Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, and a few other various religious branches. If you don’t have a background in one of these religions, then chances are, you don’t know what Lent is.

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter, lasting about six weeks. This time frame lands anywhere from February to April, depending on when Easter is that year. Ask any Catholic what Lent is, and they’ll talk your ear off for about an hour. In a nutshell, Lent is about doing penance, fasting, and giving up worldly pleasures in an effort to get closer to Jesus. I know what you must be thinking by now: this girl is trying to convert us to a Lent-practicing Christian denomination. Quite the opposite. I myself am an Agnostic, yet I love to practice Lent every year. Anyone can practice Lent, and everyone should. Here’s why I think so:

Practicing Lent gives you a reason to meditate.meditation GIF

With all this new scientific research cropping up, nobody needs to be told twice that meditation is good for the mind and body. Yet, we hardly ever find time to actually do it. During Lent, we are called to take time to ourselves to focus on evaluating our daily actions and morals. An excellent way to do this is through meditation. Every day for six weeks, we can take time (whether it be five minutes or sixty) to search in ourselves and reflect -- non-judgmentally! -- on how we lead our lives.

Practicing Lent coerces you into volunteering/donating more.hunger games GIF

Remember that one time in eighth grade when your mom signed up your family to volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving? Chances are, you haven’t done too much volunteering since then. If you have, that’s wonderful! Regardless of the current amount of time you spend — or don’t spend — volunteering, spend more during Lent! Lent calls everyone to take time to give to the less fortunate, whether that be through monetary donations or volunteering time. Not only will those you’ve helped feel good, you’ll feel good too!

Practicing Lent helps you get rid of bad habits and/or start good habits.spoby GIF

Perhaps the most infamous aspect of Lent is giving up something. During Lent, each person should either give up a not-so-good possession or habit (like eating chocolate or swearing too much) or start a great new habit (like attending church twice a week or helping somebody every day). Bonus points to those who decide to do both! When you take the time to give up something bad and start doing something good, you begin to learn a lot more about yourself and the world around you.

Lent is technically a religious thing. But to me, Lent isn’t about getting closer to Jesus. Instead, it’s about finding time in my busy life to reflect on my moral actions, to humble myself through devoting my time to others, and to shed myself of one or two worldly possessions/bad habits. I hope each and every one of you practice some variation of Lent this year. It may be hard at first, but you’ll feel so good by Easter!