18 Things To Give Or Take Up For Lent

18 Things To Give Or Take Up For Lent

Think Outside The Box This Lent

During the next 40 days of Lent, we as Catholics try to prepare ourselves for the Easter season. We are called to focus on improving our spiritual well-being through Lenten sacrifices based on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Fasting usually involves giving up or depriving ourselves of a something that we desire or is indulgent. For many, this is usually what they focus on during Lent such as giving up sweets or pop. Practicing prayer as a Lenten sacrifice can include adding an extra element to our prayer lives that may not be part of our normal routine. Almsgiving involves giving in some way such as your time, talent and/or wealth.

If you’re like me, it can be hard to come up with new ideas each year that are challenging, life-changing and creative. So here are some ideas that you could do that go beyond just giving up sweets:

1. Constantly caffeinated? Consider switching coffee for tea or tea for coffee. If you want to go further, give up caffeine altogether.

2. Remember to hydrate or die-drate! As part of your Lenten sacrifice, focus on keeping the temple that is your body as healthy as possible by drinking the recommended 8 cups of water a day. If you want to go further, give up drinking any other drink but water.

3. If you fight over control of the radio in the car, a challenging Lenten sacrifice could be to give up control of the radio. If control of the radio is not an issue, consider only listening to Christian music or not listening to music at all and spending time in silence with Jesus.

4. Do you have bedgasms: feelings of euphoria after climbing into bed? Try making your bed less comfy like sleeping without pillows or without your favorite blanket.

5. If you struggle to leave your bed in the morning, give up hitting the snooze button or lounging around in the morning in your bed. Remember: if you snooze, you lose...

6. If you struggle with self-confidence and vanity, a Lenten sacrifice could be to just wear the first outfit you put on in the morning or wear little to no makeup. Take this time to get a source of self-esteem beyond your fashion and focus on how you are beautifully and wonderfully made in God’s image.

7. If you’re like me, you don’t just sing in the shower you perform. Make this part of your Lenten sacrifice by singing along to worship and praise music instead of your normal playlist. You can take this further by not listening to any music and using this time to pray and do an examination of conscience that way you can wash away the day.

8. Addicted to music? Commit to listening only to Christian music during Lent. Although this may be difficult at first, this is a great way to appreciate the depth and meaning behind many Christian songs. If this may be too hard, remember to treat yourself as a temple of God and only listen to wholesome, positive music. As my mom used to say, “garbage in, garbage out."

9. Are you a broke college student? Consider focusing on saving by not buying anything during Lent but the absolute necessities, like only your groceries or school supplies. You might be surprised by how much you can save by cutting out the small spending that you may think of as insignificant.

10. If money is not as big a concern, maybe consider taking the money that you would normally spend on luxuries to charity. The $5 you spend on Starbucks could make a significant difference if donated instead to Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

11. Addicted to a certain restaurant? Don’t eat there all of Lent. If you want to take this further, don’t eat out at any restaurants and only eat at home (this is also a good way to save money).

12. Are you an emotional or stress eater? Try to limit your snacking and keep a journal of the food and feelings so that you can gain a better understanding of this habit. Instead of snacking, try to pray instead such as saying the Serenity Prayer or the Rosary to calm you.

13. Feel like you complain a lot? Give up complaining. Try to phrase your problems in ways that are more constructive such as what you can to do to address them.

14. Going along with complaining, give up using the phrase “I can’t." You are capable, so turn those “can’t”s into “can”s. (It’s not that I can’t lift 20 lbs, but rather that I can currently only lift 10 lbs...)

15. Like to gossip with the girls? Focus instead of tearing people down on building them up. Consider writing 40 affirmation notes. To take this further, maybe write a note for every time you slip up and gossip that you can give to the subject of your gossip.

16. Live your life only in leggings? Give up the comfort of leggings and instead only wear pants like jeans whenever you leave the house.

17. If you don’t want to go dark on social media completely, consider just giving up Facebook and Snapchat until your homework is done. Another is to try to be more present to your family and friends by not using your phone when spending time with them.

18. If you are not sure what sins or habits you struggle with, consider doing an examination of conscience every night to help guide you.

While this is not a comprehensive list, i hope that these will help inspire your personal Lenten sacrifices and encourage you to step outside the box!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/protophotogsl/7561440818/

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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From The Outside Looking In, UNC Is A Liberal Campus, But That Doesn't Mean God Isn't Working Here

Just because we don't always seem Him working doesn't mean He isn't


When I decided to go to Carolina during my senior year of high school I specifically remember people immediately saying how they'd be praying for me and my faith as I headed off to such a liberal university. It wasn't until I actually stepped foot onto UNC's campus and became a part of the culture here that I realized how inaccurate people's assumptions of this campus truly are.

People's assumptions about what UNC is and isn't stems from a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions they have about a university that many of those same people never actually attended. I know that comes off as harsh, and maybe it is, but the truth is you are never truly able to understand what an environment is like until you spend a significant portion of time there. It's the mundane moments or the day to day life events that I get to take part in which allow me to fully embrace all that UNC is. Until I was able to experience that for myself I too feared that my faith would be muddled by UNC.

Those mundane moments I mentioned, it has been within those moments that I've been able to experience the overwhelming love of Christ and see the work He is doing on this campus. It's sitting at a table in the Union to finish up some homework and overhearing a conversation about Christ or walking through Lenoir at dinner time and hearing a group of friends praying before dinner. If you aren't looking for it you'd probably overlook it or cast it off as another conversation, but these moments are so much more than that. The best part of it all, those are just the mundane moments.

Maybe it's bold of me to say that God has a plan for this campus, but I'm fine with being bold in that. I find the confidence in saying this because I get to experience Tuesday nights in a church on Franklin Street as a congregation of students fills the pews and for 45 minutes we stop what we are doing and praise God together. There are no denominations there, there are no barriers, it's a group of students coming together to worship God through music. Then as we break away and go our separate ways for the rest of the week each of us falls back into our own sphere of influence. In these spheres of influence, we build a deeper community that binds us to different churches and campus ministries and organizations, but at the end of the day, we all find our way back to that same church every Tuesday evening.

I will not deny that my generation has shown a drastic decrease in the amount of college-aged students who regularly attend church services on Sunday, but that a) doesn't mean that they've fully forsaken the faith or b) that God is not working on college campuses like UNC. As with everything else, I think it is important to put these statistics into context. When students come to UNC, or any college for that matter, most of the time they find themselves trying to reestablish who they are and redefine their identity. This seems to stem from a lack of community and not really knowing where their niche is just yet. Loss of a well-established Christian community can be detrimental for a lot of students as they go off to college and struggle to balance all their new responsibilities while trying to figure out who they are. So that drastic decrease we see may be less of college-aged students fully parting ways with the faith and more of them not being able to find a community where they feel at home.

This area, in particular, is one that really defines why I say that God is truly working on this campus. As a student, it can be hard to find that community, as I said, but UNC has so many campus ministries or local churches that before long students seem to meander into their niche. I know for me it happened fairly quickly, but for others, it doesn't happen like that and it takes time. At the end of the day though, people seem to find a community that suits them well and where they feel loved and known. For me, that's the most important reason behind why I say God is here working on this campus.

To anyone who ever worried about me going to such a "liberal" campus, fear not because God has a plan and has placed me on a campus full of people that He loves and wants to minister to for a reason. Don't let false assumptions and stereotypes jade your perception of the work God can do. He's working here, it's now just up to us to listen and obey His commands.

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