If you are looking for out of the box ideas for Lent, you’ve come to the right place. Do you celebrate Lent every year, the season leading up to to Easter? My husband and I were both raised Catholic and we both celebrate Lent and we teach our kids to take part in it, as well. These 10 ideas for Lent are for you & your family. You can skip down below the picture to see the list of 10 ideas for Lent, or you can read about what Lent is right here:
WHAT IS LENT:
‘Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or volunteering and giving of themselves for others. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan. (source: umc.org)
It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.
WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY:
The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance. Now, the ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many people that receive them will leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility. (Source: catholicism.about.com) We also have to fast on Ash Wednesday & refrain from eating meat on Fridays.
I can remember walking around our high school, in PA, and seeing 90% of my friends with ashes on their heads. I went to the early morning mass with my family, as did most of my friends (my high school had mostly Christians: Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, etc… so most of us celebrated Lent)
1. Don’t buy anything that you don’t NEED.
If you can live without it, you don’t need it. Put the money that you would have spent into a jar. You will be surprised at how quickly you build up your savings. I even wrote a book about how to save money (it was actually how we saved enough for me to quit teaching and be a stay at home mom)
Be sure to look at how much you saved after the 40 days & put some into savings, but donate the rest.
You could even try to earn more money with these work at home jobs.
2- Throw Away 40 things for 40 days
Every day, you walk around your house and collect 40 things to donate or throw away… every day. (Try donating, because you are helping others).
it is a day by day cleaning & decluttering guide that lasts through lent. Every day during lent, I take you into one room of my home and I show you how I organized it. (It also includes other things, like organizing the refrigerator, art supplies for your kids, school work, outdoor things, the office, and much more!) You can find the course here and declutter your home during lent.
4- No gossiping
None! If someone says something negative about another person, either say something nice or don’t say anything at all. You would think this is going to be SO easy, but when you can’t say anything negative about anyone else, you realize how often it happens, sadly.
I find myself saying “Ugh. The clerk at the store today was really rude today.” or “I wish Mickey (my husband) would have given the boys a bath before I got home from the store.” or even “Wow- those kids are really loud at that table, when while we are out to eat… I wonder if their Mom is going to tell them to be a little quieter at dinner?” Simple things like that make this one really hard. It sort of goes along with #10, which you will see in a minute.
5- No eating after dinner
This one is hard for me, so it really makes me think about Lent because I can see just a glimpse of how Jesus struggled when he was hungry. I eat most of my snacks in the evening when I am watching TV with my husband. This year, I plan on letting myself have one bowl of YoNanas every night since it is only frozen fruit.
6- No soda
This one is easy & not really out-of-the-box, but it is my struggle, so I had to include it. I have one diet coke a day when it is not Lent, so it is my sacrifice. It is harder than most people think, since it is such a habit & routine of mine (I just stop on the way home from preschool at McDonalds & grab a diet coke… every day) Luckily, I have the soda stream & it gets me through that first week or two (I use the flavored water drink mixes). The rest is easy.
7- Say 3 nice things to your spouse and kids every day.
You may think this is easy, but try to say things that aren’t the normal “Thanks” or “You look nice.” or “Good job.” Try to do 3 out-of-the-box things: “I love how you always help the kids.” or “I love how you work hard on your homework, even when it is tough tonight. You are a hard worker” Try to say this important word to your kids.
Remember… your words become their inner voice.
8- Don’t eat out
9- Replace 30 minutes of TV time with 30 extra minutes of devotion/prayer time.
Read a devotional or bible story with your family and have a discussion about it. Even young kids can get involved in this. Here is a great devotional for kids: (read a devotion every night)
10- Do not complain.
We often complain and whine about things, but we need to try to have a positive outlook on things. I tried this one year and it was VERY hard. You don’t realize how much you complain until you give it up… “Do everything without arguing or complaining…” Philippians 2:14 NIV
11 (Bonus)- Spend more one-on-one time with your kids!
We only have a few years to really be present in their lives. Let’s spend these years wisely.
ps- I want to invite you to sign up for my FREE e-mail series called One on One time. It is completely free & I will send you this calendar to get you started. 🙂
So… What will you be giving up this year for Lent?
Even if you aren’t Catholic, it is a great time to try to do something to better yourself, your spirit & your heart for 40 days.
Do you have your children try to give something up, as well? We do. I try to have them do #7 and I remind them often and #9. Last year, they tried to give up vegetables… haha! No such luck!
I hope that was helpful…