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Utilizing Lent to Refocus on Goals

Today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. For the next 40 days (technically, it's 48 days, but there are built-in off days, which I never understood), many people across the world will make sacrifices to attempt to walk in the steps of Jesus, as he spent 40 days in the wilderness and was tempted by Lucifer.


For these many, Lenten sacrifices will likely be second attempts at New Year's Resolutions as they will seek to avoid sugar. Or perhaps they will push themselves and log out of their social media accounts. Whatever the sacrifice, I wish them the best.


One doesn't have to be a Christian to benefit from Lent. It can be a time of renewal in your life. The key is to not over-extend yourself, so pick something tangible to either change about yourself or remove from your life to evaluate if you want it to be a part of your life after Easter.


For Lent, I'm doing a twist in that I will sacrifice for myself and do a "supportive" Lent for my sons.


For myself, to maximize time and energy towards finishing my degree and for my side hustles like The Gen-X Texan, I have decided to give up TV. It is incredible how much time we let slip through our fingers.


Nor for the supportive angle. My youngest son decided that he is giving up desserts; therefore, I'll also give them up. The middle son decided he wanted to give up being lazy, so he agreed to work out at the gym five days a week. Well, I'll be there with him - five days lifting weights. Finally, my oldest son decided on cutting out bread, so no traditional sandwiches, muffins, rolls, or fried food that is breaded (oh, how I'll miss you, chicken fried steak!)


To be clear, this isn't a requirement of our Faith. As members of the Methodist church, we observe the season, but making sacrifices is entirely a personal decision. What I have found from successful Lent sacrifices in the past is that the benefits ran deeper than spiritual cleansing; it also allowed me to recalculate and set good lifestyle habits that extended well beyond the 48 days.


I've had my share of failures, too. I recall one year stating that I was giving up candy, only to catch myself eating a Snickers bar three hours into my day before I realized what I was doing. It's funny to think about that failure, but it illustrates an issue most of us have - we automate so many of our decisions that we do things without much thought. Does this remind you of anything? Americana Apathy.


Later this evening, I'll attend service and head home with an ashen cross on my forehead. I'll reflect on the time I'm about to spend in my metaphorical wilderness as I will face the temptation of shows to catch up on while snacking on cookies. But in time, the adjustment will make it easier.


After all, Lent is a great evaluator of commitment to a Higher power and for self-renewel.


 

On Easter Monday, look for a follow-up article on how Lent 2024 went for Gen-X Tex. If you are participating in Lent this year, please share your sacrifice(s).

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