Observing Lent

Today while catching up on Pinterest, I noticed a large amount of repins of a pin I posted about Lent.  I did not grow up observing Lent so I often am behind on the actual day that it starts.  I checked in with my Lenten blogger, Sarah, and realized today was the first day of Lent!

Over the past few years I have observed Lent in small ways...giving up Facebook or cutting back on sugar.  But this year I feel ahead of the game as I am actually starting on the day of!  Perhaps next year, I will even plan ahead!

Thinking back to different times of my life where I practiced a certain self-discipline or fast from something, I am always reminded that I come out a different person and have learned something new.

The past few months I feel like I have been dragging.  I have struggled with motivating myself to do things and be the person I really want to be.  And as a person who craves discipline and order, I need this extra push to focus on the person I want to become in the next 40 days.

So today I took some time to think about and decide a list of things I will be practicing over the next 40 days:

I am in the process of losing 10 pounds I put on over the last year, and I think these disciplines will help me stay on the right track as well as help me rethink my relationship with food.  A few years ago I fasted from food once a week for a month and it was an amazing journey of realizing how little food my body actually needs to function for a day.  It taught me to rely on other things to get through my day and how to reevaluate what I was putting in my mouth each day.

When I do a juice fast, I drink a protein shake in the morning so I can still get through my workout and then drink one or two fruit drinks {like Naked Juice} throughout the day.  I also want to eat cleaner in general, eating fresh food and devoting more of my time and energy into preparing healthy meals.  I allow myself one treat or dessert on the weekend to practice the discipline of not rigidly restricting things in my diet as I am likely to binge later if I never allowed it.

For my spiritual and emotional needs I will be taking some time away from Facebook and also reading the book Celebration of Discipline {which I have started various times but have not had the discipline to finish!}.  I need more discipline in my life to take care of my spiritual and emotional health and think these will help me head in the right direction.  Making time to clear my head {like not listening to music in the car} will give me time to think and sift through my thoughts.

I have also put praying for my husband on the list {something I am not proud to say that I am not very good at} as well as praying for my dad who we recently found out is dealing with some health issues and will be undergoing an upcoming surgery.

And lastly, I will continue purging around the house as I have been, tackling the following list one day at a time.  This is inspired by the 40 bags in 40 days practice that is very popular during lent of purging around the house.

I also started a board on Pinterest for Lent in case you are looking for more ideas.

Whether or not you are a religious person, I think the concepts of making goals and setting disciplines can offer any of us a new outlook on life and how we spend our time.

And in case you are like me and are behind in deciding you want to join in on Lent, it is okay to start late!  It is not about following strict guidelines but rather focusing your heart and mind on this season leading up to Easter. 

How have you practiced Lent {or other disciplines} in the past and will you be observing it this year?