40 Days and 40 Nights

As we embark into the halfway point of February, Valentine’s Day this year also signifies a very important day: Ash Wednesday. If you are familiar with or celebrate the Christian occasion then you know that this marks the start of potentially having a drastic change to your lifestyle. This period of fasting, abstinence, and pentinence commemroates the 40 days and 40 nights that Jesus spent in the wilderness. Lasting until Easter it’s 40 weekdays with resting period on Sundays.

Personally I grew up Adventist and we fast for everything. Praying for a new job? Fast. Financial issues? Fast. Marriage falling apart? Fast. It’s a way of life for us but I didn’t participate in Lent because I always saw it as a Catholic holiday and almost sort of a fad. People were doing it just to say they do it like most things. It wasn’t until I was living in Chicago and one of my friends was celebrating and I asked her why she did it that I came to have a better understanding. After some chatter about her reasoning of it being more than just something to do but a serious time of sacrifice and reflection I decided to partake. I gave up drinking, fried foods, sweets, and coffee. I can be honest and tell you I was miserable and my attitude at times was on level 1000 because I was hungry or wanted to drink but it’s in your suffering you build that connection, take out distractions, and depend on God more.

A few years later here I am getting ready to celebrate another Lent but have decided to do it somewhat different this year. Outisde of what I am giving up both tanginble and intangible, I am also finding ways to replace what I take out with other things. Here are 40 things you can give up for Lent this year and what you can replace them with. (in parenthesis)

*note. You don’t have to give up 40 things. These are just examples of things you can do. Also the writer, i.e. me, is not responsible for any grumpiness, attitude or tantrum you may have by participating. Read at your own risk*

  1. Red meat (fish/chicken)
  2. Meat all together (vegan/vegetarian meat substitutes)
  3. Cooked foods (dishes with raw veggies and fruits)
  4. Fried foods (baked items)
  5. Coffee (green tea)
  6. Sweets ie cookies, cake, cheesecake etc (fruit)
  7. Sugar (agave)
  8. Cheese (I hate vegan cheese but give it a try. If not honestly you just are going to have to cry about this one)
  9. Pasta (zuchini noodles)
  10. Juice and Soda (infused water)
  11. Wine/Alcohol (tonic water and prayer)
  12. Smoking: cigarettes, marijuana, crack, whatever your thing is (work-out, clean, run, etc. Find another stress reliever)
  13. Shopping (give away 40 items. Give away old clothes, books, dvds, etc)
  14. Bread (lettuce wraps)
  15. Instagram (read)
  16. $40 (donate it to a charity)
  17. Fast Food (meal prep)
  18. Make-up (drink your water and mind your business. It does wonders)
  19. Gossip (speak life into people)
  20. Vanity (no selfies, or self-serving activities)
  21. Laziness (get up and get moving. The gym, projects, work. )
  22. Unforgiveness (use this time to pray on situations and work on being open to forgive people)
  23. Pride (humility)
  24. 40 Hours of time to yourself (Volunteer)
  25. Phone (keep it for communicatin and emergencies but not used as a gaming device/camera/time taker)
  26. Talking bad to yourself (daily affirmations)
  27. Bad attitudes (be pleasant with people)
  28. Jewelry (there really is no replacement for this but it’s still going on the list)
  29. TV (read, get active, learn new things, take a class)
  30. Complaining (silence)
  31. Twitter (journal. Read a line in the bible everytime you want to tweet)
  32. Overworking yourself (relaxation. Doing what is expected but don’t run yourself into the ground)
  33. Curse words (look up expressive words to learn)
  34. Mainstream music (Gospel and/or Christian Music)
  35. Traveling (discover places locally)
  36. Dating (practicing self-love/care)
  37. Sex (growing together with your partner)
  38. Self-Doubt (encouragement)
  39. White lies (honesty)
  40. Excuses (just get it done)
Brittany BullockComment