The Social Media
Let’s face it, the social media occupies a lot of our time!
It is even happening now! Even though we are perhaps at a birthday party, friendly gathering, the Church, a graduation or some other important social situation, yet we have our phone in our hands and we’re checking our Facebook page, posting something to Instagram, or sending a tweet.
Put down the phone, temporarily delete the apps and free yourself from the technology dependency for 40 days
Gossip is one of the best things to give up during Lent and for the rest of your Life!
It is True that It can be difficult to keep from spreading news, but the reality is that too many of us spread news we have no right to spread, or that is based on assumption rather than facts.
Do yourself a favor and give up what is unfortunately a socially-accepted form of bad-mouthing.
Fast from Complaint
Too often when we don’t want to do something, you will hear about it, and that’s in the form of a complaint. Why do we have to do this? Seriously? Those words can be toxic and it pollutes the attitudes of those around me. Fasting from complaint calls us to be a solution, rather than contribute to a problem.
Just like gossiping, criticizing others is socially acceptable but it shouldn’t be. For Lent this year, consider keeping your words in check.
If you feel like saying something negative about someone – including yourself – think twice and keep your mouth shut.
Recall the old adage: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
Fast from Noise
It’s hard not to notice that our world is flooded with noise. It’s disguised as music, news, talking, gossip and more. Silence is a rare gift!
David Haas reiterates the words of Isaiah when he sings “I will come to you in the silence…I have called you and you are mine.” Fasting from noise over the course of the 40 days in an intentional and prayerful way can serve as an invitation to hearing God’s word, God’s voice and God’s love.
Giving up opportunities to eat out at your favorite restaurant certainly makes a difference in our lives and our wallets!
Instead of treating yourself to a nice meal at a restaurant, consider making yourself something at home. The time it would normally take for you to get ready and drive to eat out can be spent preparing something with a loved one or communing with God as you cook for yourself.
Fast from Being Ungrateful
Father Jack of “Franciscan Media” writes “Scientists have done research that shows grateful people sleep better, are healthier, less depressed, less stressed and have more positive ways of coping with difficulties.”Practicing gratitude and choosing to fast from ingratitude sounds like something that is not only physically healthy but mentally, emotionally and spiritually enriching, too.
I have always believed that Lent need not be about what we give up, but what we gain! Gain light, grow in love, live Lent!
Fast from Selfishness
Truth and beauty: I find both in the Prayer of St. Francis when he wrote, “it is in the giving that we receive…and in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
The Christian paradox: It’s so easy to put ourselves first. We’re busy people,
The simple spiritual exercise of intentionally putting the needs of others to the forefront of our vision, like opening the door for someone, helping a person carry something or letting another driver in before us keep us from being the center of the universe.
Fast from a Creature Comfort
Every time we go out of the way to gain comfort, like putting on that noisy generator set! Turning on the heater, and so on. We should be reminded in a tangible way of the discomforts many people confront on a daily basis. Of course it should remind us to thank God for a simple gift like heat but it also served as an invitation to pray for those who might not be able to pay their monthly PG&E bill, for those on the street or those who feel cold because of a lack of love and support in their own lives.
Fast from Excuses
Perhaps you have heard the expression that “excuses are like belly buttons; everyone has one.” Sometimes, we need to hear why many times we don’t. “I’m sorry. I messed up. Or, I’m wrong” serve relationships much more effectively. This Lent, consider fasting from excuses.
Reading Tom Verducci’s article “Exit Stage Center,” I learned that the parents of the legendary shortstop Derek Jeter “never permitted Derek to use the word ‘can’t’ around the house. Anything was possible with hard work. There is no doubting whence comes his distaste for negativity.”
It’s important to “find a way” when life is challenging. Removing the words “I can’t” from our vocabulary is no easy task, but I think it’s worth considering.
Fast from Busyness
Is it possible for you to slow down and make some time for the Lord during Lent? Fasting from busyness is an invitation to do that.
It is a badge of honor to be busy. But that does not always translate to abundance.
The word “Lent” in Old English refers to springtime. But its roots in Latin— lentitudo -inis f. [slowness]—refer to slowing down. And the meaning behind those words reminds us that lent is a time to fast from rushing around and keeping busy.
It is no good to be idle, I agree. But being too busy can prevent us from hearing God’s voice, listening to the movements of the heart and noticing the beauty of God’s creation.