What I'm Giving Up for Lent

During a time of new beginnings and taking up exciting, but challenging responsibilities, Lent could not have come at a better time for me. The second semester of the school year only needed one week to show just how well it could kick my butt. Not to mention, I’ve been taking on different projects simultaneously that are pushing me way out of my comfort zone and testing not only my leadership but my confidence in how well I think I can carry them out. But in this time of doubting myself and feeling a bit burnt out, I’m trying so hard to remember that my strength comes from Him. Because to Him, I have unlimited potential that I have yet to discover I can tap into.

If you’re wondering who He is, it’s who the next 40 days of my life (and all the others after that) will be dedicated to trying to grow closer to. As a practicing Catholic, I’m thrilled that with the start of Lent I’m about to experience a transformative journey by allowing Jesus to work in me until I’m a better version of myself. The past few months have left me feeling stagnant, and I’m feeling ready to experience growth this season. 

To do that, I had to go all-in and seriously think about what to give up for the next one and a half months. After just a few days of debating, my Bible study leader saved me from my trouble and offered the idea that our group gives up social media and non-Christian music. After about another week of debating that idea, I decided to just go for it. It was, and still is, so hard for me to imagine going without my usual music and TikTok binge sessions until Easter. Music is a big part of what helps to boost my mood whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and TikTok is the first thing I turn to in my free time. 

I don’t think it’s advisable to give up something that genuinely improves your mental health on a daily basis, which music (and sometimes even TikTok) does for me. But I wanted to push myself to at least say yes to the challenge to try. Because by saying yes, I’m also saying yes to filling my free time with God instead of noise. In turn, I’m giving myself the chance to better understand who He is in our relationship and how I can truly lean on Him during my low and high points. 

In addition to what I am giving up, I am also taking on new habits. I have a Lenten companion that basically serves as a prayer guide and gives me a new prompt and Bible verse to pray with each morning. This was a catalyst to my growth in my Lenten journey last year, and I have the utmost confidence that it’ll lend to my journey this year, too. Alongside increased prayer, I’m also trying to make sure that my prayers are more intentional. I want to make sure that every time I pray, I actually realize that I’m putting myself in the presence of God who is listening to me and that something really profound happens every time I do that.

Just picturing how much change and growth I’ll have gone through by April 4th is all the motivation I need to keep moving forward and trying to do all I can to exercise my faith, although I’ve already encountered challenges and rough patches along the way. I also realize that growing in a relationship with God and with yourself is a lifetime process that won’t just end come Easter. But after the goals I’ve set coming into Lent and imagining the person I hope to be when it ends, I just pray that God helps me to reach the point in my journey where I need to be. I also continue to pray that he gives me and my loved ones the strength, trust in Him, and confidence in ourselves to continue along with hope and excitement!