Do you have to be catholic to practice lent?

You Don’t Have To Be Catholic To Give Up Something For Lent

The present is the perfect time to sacrifice to become better, whether you're religious or not.


From age five to thirteen, kindergarten to eighth grade, I went to a Catholic private school. Now that I'm in my second year of college, my faith has been a very big part of my life and a huge driver of what my personal morals are and the reason why sticking to them is so important for me today.

Like most other religions, there are special times throughout the year that calls us to do things in the reflection of our religion and ourselves. In the Catholic faith, we have something called Lent. This period represents the 40 days and 40 nights before Easter Sunday, the day we believe Jesus resurrects into Heaven. These 40 days are meant as a period of self-reflection and a time for us to get closer with God by being open and asking him to really be by our sides in our time of need. A tradition during this Lenten time is to give up something for these 40 days. Although this doesn't even compare, our sacrifice is supposed to represent all of the sacrifices Jesus made for us during this time so that we may be able to live with God in Heaven as well. But, in reality, this not only represents our faith but it represents us trying to just become better people.

The common story that you hear this season when people are trying to figure out what they're going to give up is chocolate chip cookies or sweets. But, think about it: how often do you each chocolate chip cookies? Every day or is it really every two weeks? Are you really giving them up to be a better person and sacrifice something that has been giving you short-term pleasure but not long-term benefits or are you just "giving it up" because it's easy? These are the key questions to ask yourself when trying to decide on what to give up.

I think that taking the time to just take a break from something can be beneficial to everyone, whether or not you're religious. To do this, I suggest first finding a quiet place, sitting down, closing your eyes, taking some deep breaths, and having an open mind. Try not to come in with a preconceived idea of what you're going to give up. Then really take the time to sincerely revisit who or what kind of person you want to be in life, reflect on how you have been acting lately, and assess your strengths and weaknesses.

Once you've done that, acknowledge those weaknesses and think about what you can do to turn those strengths into weaknesses and what is holding you back from being that person you want to be. After you've established that, then there you go. You have figured out what truly needs to be done. I'll be honest, it'll be hard, but if you take it day by day and always keep your end goal in mind, your sacrifice will pay off and in the end, you'll feel like a whole new person.

Personally, I sat down and reflected on how I've been living my life since the beginning of the new year. Coming into 2019, the word I wanted to live by was "thrive." I wanted to thrive in my sport, thrive in building relationships with my friends, thrive in academics, thrive in looking and acting more mature. After my honest assessment, I was not thriving in everything I wanted to. Of course, it was ok that I didn't have everything in order but it was not ok that the reason that I didn't have my stuff in order was because of things I could control. The problem was that I was putting off more important things to spend more time doing things like binge-watching this new Korean romantic comedy or scrolling through my feed which gave me that short term enjoyment that is so tempting to have but is so detrimental in the long term. So, this year I chose to give up social media (Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) and Netflix for Lent.

It's been a couple of days, and I'll admit, it's tough. For many of us, sending Snapchat streaks to our friends and refreshing our Insta feeds have become a daily routine. My hope is that after this, I'll have transformed into the fully productive student, close friend, and a more self-aware person that I aspire to be.

I hope that you are able to go on this journey too, whether you're religious or not, and that you're able to take it seriously. If you do decide to embark on this journey, I hope you find strength in times of struggle and feel a great sense of joy and accomplishment when you do get to the finish line. So, I wish you good luck and just remember, if it ever gets hard, just remind yourself of your "why."

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A Letter From God To Help You Finish The Semester

God sees your struggles and He's here to give you strength and motivation.

My Child,

The lack of motivation towards the end of the semester is normal. You are mentally and physically tired, but you are almost at the end. Don’t stop walking down the perfect path I have for you. When you’re going along and you come upon a speedbump, I want you to go over it and keep driving. The paper you have to write and the test you have to study for are just small speedbumps I have given you to make you wiser. You can write that paper and you can gain motivation to study for that test. I am here to give you strength, and am here to open up your mind and give you motivation.

You are so loved. You have such a beautiful mind. The light of Jesus shines through your eyes and your smile brings comfort to the world. There’ll be times you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. There’ll be times you feel like the task I have given you is impossible to perform. But remember this: I would never put anything upon your shoulders that you cannot carry. If I put you in a certain situation, it’s because I know you are strong enough to go through it.

When you feel like crying, cry to me. When you feel like a failure, remember how much I love you. You are not a failure and you are not going to give up. I will hold your hand through every second of your life. I will seek your heart through your darkest moments. I see you, I see your heart, and I see your burdens. And remember that I have your heart which means I also have your burdens. Follow my footsteps and you will be free from the doubt. Remember Mark 4:40-41: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I have the power to calm any storm and wave. I have the power to calm YOUR storms and waves. Set your doubt, anger, and tiredness in my hands and simply be patient.

Romans 8:14-15 says,“For those who are led by the spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again, rather the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” Nothing can separate you from my love. Not even your lack of motivation. You have no motivation because you do not feel good enough. You are more than good enough. You were perfectly made by me and when I look down at you, I think of how proud I am of your heart.

Throughout the last few weeks of this semester, you will stumble upon speedbumps. But hold the hand of my son Jesus and you will be able to go over that speedbump with ease. Go write that paper, go study for that test, and go get an A in that class. I know you can because I have given you power.



Cover Image Credit: Margaret Carnes

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Warning Labels For The Bible

If I felt like decorating my Bible with warning stickers, these would be my top ones


Two of my friends put me up to this, so here I go.

This post is about warnings people should have about the Bible. Some of my warnings are serious and well-intentioned, while others are meant to cause a little chuckle/giggle, at the very least.


Bible Warnings

Warning: Jesus likes playing hide and seek, even after he died (#Resurrection #Easterday #findthatsheep #findthatcoin).

Warning: Reading the book of Numbers might give you a headache.

Warning: There are some erotic materials in here (I'm looking at you, Song of Songs).

Warning: Don't read this if you don't want your life to change.

Warning: Bringing this to class might cause someone to ask you about your faith.

Warning: R-rated for violence, especially for all those baby massacres.

Warning: Paul is a well-intentioned chatterbox. (Like that wise best friend who always knows when to call your dummy moves out on you or give you that holy wisdom you so desire.)

Warning: Sometimes, the footnotes don't make sense and you have to do some historical background reading on your own.

Warning: Don't read John 6 if you don't want to re-evaluate the Catholic Church.

Warning: Don't be like Jonah. Big fishes are out there still, and they are #hungry.

Warning: Don't read every book in here literally (another Revelation shoutout).

Warning: Jesus proclaims that faith and works are needed, not just faith alone.

Warning: God doesn't want you to be nice, He wants you to follow Him. (God would've had Jesus start petitions instead of flipping over tables if He wanted His followers to be accommodating/nice all the time.)

Now here are some facts.

Fact: God loves you, whether you're sinning hardcore or becoming a saint.

Fact: God wants to be more than just a cartoon image in your dusty childhood Bible picture book at home.

Fact: When you read the Bible or hear it out loud in a faithful community, your life will change. You might not see it right away, but it will, and you will have more joy (not the same as happiness - it's better).

Fact: Something's holding you back from believing this, and I encourage you to address it, cuz your lack of faith is not a good look for you.

Now here is a reflection

As I was writing this list, I started realizing how many stories I know in the Bible. I also reflected on all of the stories in my life. I recalled how God has calmed my heart when I thought it would burst from anxiety. I remembered when God started and ended relationships and left me with a million life lessons because of it.

I remembered that I'm also a part of the story, and the book of Salvation History is not done - I'm a part of it, too, and I am a KEY PLAYER BABY... if I would only embrace my role more as a disciple of Christ!

Basically, I wish to live life in such a way that the warning label "Watch out, this girl's doing Christ's good work!" would be applicable to me. I wish I was on fire for Christ. I wish I was all His and never afraid of it.

Even though I'm not there yet, God has placed that desire on my heart and He will fulfill the good work He has started with me. I just have to participate.

And I hope you decide to participate, too, because being a part of God's story is the most exciting, dramatic, difficult, fulfilling, heart-wrenching (for all the right reasons), joyful, and straight up interesting thing to do while on earth.

See you next time I release a blog post!


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