Lent is here this week, which feels weird because it seems like the year just started. As a college student, you've lived through about 20 Lents in your life, give or take. It's really easy to get stuck in the habit of giving up chocolate or soda every Lent. The Lenten season is supposed to help purify you on your journey to Christ. Even if you aren't Christian, or don't believe in Lent, it's really helpful to participate in. It gives you a set time period to get rid of bad habits and/or take on new ones. But if you don't know what else to do or to give up, check out this list!
1. Give up snacking between meals!
Snacking can be a pretty unhealthy habit, especially if you continuously reach for junk food. You could switch it up to more small meals in a day, or just aim for larger, more filling meals.
2. Give up listening to music in your car!
I, too, love jamming to music in the car. It helps fill up awkward silences with passengers, and it provides a distraction from internal thoughts. But, it's usually better to confront what you are feeling and thinking, rather than push it off until later (i.e. when you're laying in bed trying to sleep). So, try turning that music off. You could even use that time to pray!
3. Change your sleep schedule!
You could do this in any number of ways, actually. You could set a specific amount of hours you want to reach for a night. Or you could tell yourself you have to be in bed, actively trying to sleep at a certain time- say, midnight? Or, even by choosing to get up at a certain time every day, or after your first alarm goes off, rather than your sixth.
4. Give up meat!
I know how hard this is for a lot of people, especially college students. How else do we get our proteins? But proteins from plants are usually a lot healthier for our bodies to digest. Plus, this is something you will have to actively remember. Late night snack? Beef jerky here I- whoops (true story).
5. Read the bible!
Yes, read the entire bible in 40 days. It's a page turner! I'm just kidding, have you ever read Leviticus? For Lent, it helps to focus on smaller parts of the bible so you can get deeper. Struggling with emotions, or how to pray to God? Look into the Psalms. There's one for every emotion, written by God! How cool is that? Want to focus more on what Jesus did and said? Pick a Gospel, any Gospel, and go over it slowly.
6. Don't complain!
Many people feel like they complain a lot. I know someone who did this for Lent, and it was pretty trying for them. But, it helps you to think about what you're going to say before you say it, and how it can affect those around you.
7. Don't be sarcastic!
Sarcasm can hurt people. But I get how hard this is, too. I am usually pretty sarcastic, but I've been working on it. Sarcasm can tear at the hearts of those around you. It makes some people feel bad. Like in number 6, it's just about making a conscious effort to watch what you're saying. We have to love our fellow men, without making them feel small and inferior.
8. Do something kind for a stranger every day!
This one is super scary to most people, myself included. I have to actually talk to a stranger? And do something kind for them? What if they think I'm weird??? Here's the thing, you're probably already weird. And chances are, whatever you do will probably be on their mind heart for the rest of the day. Go out of your way to treat others the way you want to be treated- like God is in them and with them.
9. Give up social media accounts!
I don't mean just don't get on them. Delete the apps, block the sites on your computers. Social media takes up a lot of time that can be better spent on working on yourself or connecting with others. Social media is really nice, but it tends to suck people in.
10. Give up forks and spoons!
You've been with me so far, and I'm not trying to lose you. If you give them up, what are you supposed to eat with? Chopsticks! But what if you can't eat with chopsticks? Well, it's a perfect time to learn! In all seriousness, if you eat with chopsticks at every meal, you are bound to learn eventually. But more than that, it's definitely a faith conversation starter. "Why are you eating your Chick-fil-a with chopsticks" can lead to a discussion of what you believe in, and why. It's not that weird, right?
11. Write a letter every day!
This is a pretty heartfelt thing to do for Lent. Writing a letter about someone gives you an opportunity to appreciate them as a person, as well as gives you time to pray for someone in your life. You might be surprised to find that there are more than 40 letters that you could write!
12. Fast for more than just Fridays!
This is not something I've ever done. I've done just bread and water on Fridays, which was hard enough, but only one large meal a day with two small meals, but every day??? Talk about difficult! But, it would give you a lot of things to work on and focus on, especially with prayer.