10 Things To Give Up For Lent Other Than That Favorite Candy Bar

10 Things To Give Up For Lent Other Than That Favorite Candy Bar

I may never know how I survived those 40 days without chocolate.
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For most of my life, I grew up absolutely dreading Lent.

I knew that soon enough I'd have to face the harsh reality of going a whole 40 days of not eating my favorite snack food or candy or missing my favorite TV show every week. God forbid. How did I ever survive?

More recently, I have taken a new approach to these 40 days. Instead of giving up a food or watching a certain TV show, I have tried to do something instead of actually giving up a physical something.

"Lent comes to reawaken us." The quote by Pope Francis sums up exactly the mentality of my new approach to Lent. I now see it as a time to reflect on myself and see where God is calling me. What are the areas of my life that I could work on or change? Do I spend too much or not enough time with certain people or focused on a certain thing?

Are there any habits that I should change? Or things that I have wanted to work on, but have never started?

The following are 10 things to consider "giving up" for Lent other than that favorite candy bar.

10 Minutes in Prayer

Our lives are so busy that prayer often gets lost in the shuffle. Not to mention the fact that when I finally do get around to it, I find myself asking God for things and forgetting to pray in Thanksgiving for all that I was blessed with throughout the day. Take 10 minutes each day, it doesn't have to be all at once, to reflect on your day and to ask God for what you need and then to thank Him for all that He has provided for you.

10 Minutes Before Bed

If you’re at all like me and get excited when you can finally get to bed at a decent hour, but just end up laying there on your phone until the wee hours of the morning, then this is a good one for you. Give up 10 minutes to reflect on your day or to get in that time of prayer.

10 Conversations

We all have that little voice in our heads that comments throughout our day — comparisons that are made between ourselves and others, negative thoughts that cause us sadness or stress or even anger. Or the conversations that we have with others that are not nice. Try replacing 10 of those negative conversations with positive ones over time.

10 Smiles

I really love the idea of small actions making someone’s day. What better way to do that than to give away 10 smiles to people that look like they could use one?

10 Calls

As a sophomore in college, I often don’t take enough time to check in on my family back at home. Take the time to check in with 10 people that you haven’t in a while, whether it be via phone, a text to let them know that you’re thinking of them or even good ol’ snail mail.

10 Songs

However you want to do this one. Take a break from your crazy day and listen to 10 songs to relax and give yourself a second to breathe. Alternatively, try and listen to 10 new songs each week.

10 Pieces of Clothing

The mountain of clothes shoved into my drawers and that is sitting on the chair in the corner of my room grows bigger and bigger each time I look at it. It’s like the commercial for all-you-can-eat pancakes that refill each time you take a bite. Most likely, if you’re like me, you rotate through the same five or six outfits all the time. Over the course of Lent, try and come up with 10 items of clothing that you can get rid of that someone else would be able to benefit from.

10 Random Acts of Kindness

These never hurt anyone. Just like the 10 songs, it is totally up to you how you want to split it up. Maybe at first try 10 random acts of kindness per week — holding the door for someone, using your manners or saying good morning. Then maybe, if you’re feeling daring, try 10 a day.

10 Letters

Last year, I was super ambitious and told myself that I was going to write 40 people a letter — one for each day of Lent. Well, that didn’t happen … as much as I would have liked it to. So, maybe writing a letter to just 10 people over the course of the 40 days is more realistic. The letter can be about whatever you want. Some examples of what I’ve read about are letting the person know that you’re praying or thinking about them or how much they mean to you.

10 Quotes

One of my proudest creations is my Pinterest board, especially my quotes board entitled … you guessed it: “Quotes.” Real creative, I know. However, one of the reasons why I love creating the board is to learn a whole bunch of new quotes and to be able to go back to them when I need some inspiration. So, over the Lenten season, consider making yourself a collection of new quotes or words or poems … anything that can be of use to you.

Cover Image Credit: Huffpost

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God's Letter To The Struggling College Christian

Don't give up on me because I haven't given up on you
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Dear Struggling College Christian,

Life can be tough, especially in college; you're at that age where you're not exactly an adult but also no longer a child.

You're somewhere in between, possessing just enough freedom to do what you want while still being held responsible for the decisions you make about your future. You're always stressed out. You're going to get hurt, you're going to feel like dropping out or changing your mind, and you're even going to want to turn your back on me, your God, but I want to tell you this: your suffering is not in vain.

SEE ALSO: I Am Christian Millennial And I Do Not Hate You

I want you to know that everything you are going through is a lesson. It's all building you into a better person, a better you. The things you've asked of me, the things you've told me you wanted – those are things you have to be prepared for and you still need a bit of tweaking.

The future, though bright, isn't all sunshine and roses.

The path has twists and turns, cracks are in it, fallen logs in your way, and most of the time you're not going to be able to see straight ahead of you. The weather is going to be unpredictable. The hailstorm is going to knock you off your feet and the twisters are going to send you spinning into confusion, exhaustion, and doubt.

But with the strength that I am trying to build up in you, you'll find that you know exactly where to find shelter when the storms break down your door.

You'll find that the lessons you learn from trying times are exactly what you need to fulfill my plans for you. You've read Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28 hundreds of times, but there is a verse in the Bible that you may have never paid attention to.

Ephesians 2:10. It reads: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

The most important part of this verse is one simple word: beforehand. So while you're crying and stressing about what job you're going to land after you graduate, if you're going to marry that person you've been with for years, or if you even want to be majoring in what you're currently majoring in, I already have a plan laid out specifically for you. You are my child, my creation and you have a purpose.

However, while knowing these things is great, it is all pointless if you don't do. So here's what I want you to do: do not give up. Have faith in me. You believe in me, so why not believe in me in your darkest moments? That's the reason you became a Christian, right?

Because I'm the one person you know that won't forsake you. You know that I love you, and you know that I'm here for you, so prove it. I know it can be hard when you're pulled in a lot of different directions by your social life, your academic life and your extracurricular activities not to mention your family life and your own personal sanity, but take a few minutes out of your day, every day, to talk to me.

Tell me your fears and your desires. Remember that you can ask me for and about anything. I'm always going to give you an answer, whether it's a yes, no, or not right now. After that, I want you to stop worrying and fight on through the darkness. You are stronger than you think.

My Child, enjoy yourself while you are young: don't stress over the things that you can't see. Don't give in to the depression, the anxiety, or the stress; things that are not of me. Don't let yourself forget about me or believe that I'm not there when I am and know that my plan is set in place for you.

All you have to do is walk in it. Trust that this is all for your good. But most importantly, remember that I love you unconditionally–at your worst and your best. Life can be tough, but you are tougher simply because you are mine.

I've got you,

God

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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11 Verses To Help In Times Of Trouble

These verses have helped me when I was lost and I hope they help you to.

hannahd
hannahd
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The bible has always been something I could turn to in my times of trouble and confusion. God really does have so many answers for the millions of questions I have for him. The verses I have below are only a few of the ones I can count on I guess you could say. I know that God is always there even when I have self-doubt about it and think I am all alone in the world.

He might not answer right away but he always answers even with the little things that come along in my life.

1. John 14:1-4 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

In this verse, it would help if you are ever upset because God is letting you know that he will always have a place for you, that you will not be alone.

2. Psalm 18:6 " In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears."

If you are ever weak or frustrated because you are lost, God will always here you cry out for him and he might not always answer right away but he hears you and will help

3. Psalm 23:1-4 "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

You might be feeling alone like nobody is there for you, but God is always there and will guide you through the tough times you are facing.

4. Matthew 8:26 "He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."

Self-doubt or worried and you are scared of what might or even can happen and things will happen and you get overwhelmed, but God will calm everything around you.

5. Philippians 4:8-9 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Being anxious about things and working through them too fast and you can be messing up and get upset about it. God tells you to slow down and practice the things he has taught you and they will work out.

6. Joshua 1:5-6 "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them."

Needing courage because something just happened and you have lost your way. God is saying that you need to hold your ground and stick up for yourself, on your good and bad days the devil will try and test you but God will be with you always.

7.  Psalm 73:23-34 "Yet I am always with you;you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward, you will take me into glory."

You have lost direction and don't know what to do, the lord will be right by your side, guiding you through life. He is there to listen to you and help you find your way back to the right path.

8. Psalm 27:6 " Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord."

Feeling alone, depressed and you have lost all hope in everything God is telling you he will lift your head above everyone who has doubted you or made you feel less, he will pull you out and you will succeed above everyone else.

9. Colossians 3:12-24  "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

God is telling you to humble yourself and have certain traits you need to hold. If you are unhappy with someone, forgive one another because the Lord forgives you for what you have done and he sees you doing all.

10. Psalm 51:1-2 "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."

This is more of a straight forward verse in saying that if you have sinned, you are asking God to forgive you of your sins and to help you not do them again

11. Psalm 91:3-5 "Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will no fear the terror of night, or the arrow that flies by day."

Being worried or in danger or scared of something God will save you. If you are in trouble God will find a way to get you out of that situation, he will protect you and get you out.

I hope you can turn to at least one of these in times of trouble or confusion or lost. I have been so lost on where I should be or what I should be doing with life and these have helped me a lot.

hannahd
hannahd

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