For some people the Lenten season brings up feelings of dread. “Ugh, so not ready to give up my stash of dark chocolate,” said no high school teen ever. What if instead of dragging our feet this time of year we looked at our sacrifice as a chance to become better.
Lent is often a holiday explained to children in a way where people give up something they love for 40 days and nights. This helps us prepare ourselves for Easter.
But the true meaning of Lent is much deeper than that. It’s a season of reflection, self-improvement, and spiritual growth. During this time, many people choose to give up something they enjoy as a way to show their dedication and commitment to their faith.
This Lenten season, let’s explore some refreshingly creative ideas that can not only enrich your spiritual journey but also have a positive impact on those around you.
45 Fresh and Creative Ideas To Give Up For Lent
The hardest things to give up during Lent are often the things we have become too attached to in our daily lives. Whether it’s chocolate, social media, or online shopping, these habits can be hard to break.
But with a little creativity and determination, you can find new ways to challenge yourself for a period of time this Lenten season.
This list of ideas is not meant to replace the traditional sacrifices of giving up meat on Fridays or fasting. Instead, consider these ideas as additional ways to deepen your spiritual experience during this season.
Getting Up Early Every Day
Give up sleep and use this extra time in the morning for prayer, daily mass, or journaling.
The first few mornings will be a little bit rough, but once you get into a routine, the extra quiet time and reflection will become something to look forward to.
Missing A Work Out
Give yourself the gift of mental health and make the sacrifice you need for your physical health by not skipping a work out.
If you’ve had going to the gym or starting a new glute workout on your to-do list, then sacrifice time first thing in the morning to make it happen.
Clean out your home and donate something every day. This can be as simple as gently used toys to nursery at your local church or spiritual books to the teens in your neighborhod looking to grow in their faith.
Not only will this help you declutter your space and mind, but it also provides an opportunity to give back and serve others.
Logout of all online shopping portals and focus on living a more minimalistic lifestyle.
Challenge yourself to only purchase necessary items or try buying from local businesses and supporting your community. This can also be a great way to save money during this season.
Using Your Phone At Night
The last thing you want to be doing is forgetting your daily prayer at night because you were too busy scrolling through social media.
Instead, limit your screen time before bed and use that extra time to connect with loved ones, read a spiritual book, or simply reflect on your day in prayer.
The next time you find yourself reaching for a snack out of boredom or stress, pause and ask yourself if you’re truly hungry.
Instead of mindlessly snacking, try going for a walk outside or doing some light stretching to release tension. This can help you make healthy choices and improve your overall health and well-being.
Ignoring Your Loved Ones
When was the last time you thought about texting a family member but never got around to it?
Make a conscious effort to connect with your loved ones regularly, whether through a simple text, call, or going out to lunch together. These small gestures can strengthen relationships and bring joy to both parties.
If we spent as much time in God’s word as we do watching our favorite shows, our spiritual lives would be transformed.
Challenge yourself to limit your streaming time and use that extra time to read the Bible, listen to a sermon, or engage in other spiritual activities. It may just bring you closer to God and deepen your faith.
The holy spirit will help you speak truth, love, and kindness. If you’re struggling with gossiping, which can damage relationships, one the the best things you can do is make a conscious effort to avoid participating in gossip and instead use your words to uplift others and spread positivity.
Your relationships will thank you for it.
Take time every day to write how you’ve seen the love of God in your life.
Journaling can help you reflect on the blessings and trials in your life, bringing a sense of gratitude and peace. It’s also a great way to track your spiritual growth and connect with God on a deeper level.
The easiest way to start is write the words, “Today I saw God…”
Cutting out those nasty words and challenge yourself to find more creative ways to express yourself without using profanity. Not only will this improve the way you communicate, but it will also show respect to those around you and set a positive example for others.
Not Sharing Your Faith
Pick one person every day to share one thing you learned from your Bible study. Share something, so your whole family hears your testimony.
You can share your faith in different ways, such as texting, leaving a sticky note, or casually in your conversation. Remember, your faith is a gift and it’s important to share it with others.
Missing Scripture Reading
Read the scriptures every day, even if it’s just a few verses. It will keep you connected to God and His words will guide you through life’s challenges.
Try setting a specific time each day for your scripture reading, such as before bed or during your lunch break. Make it a habit and watch how it strengthens your relationship with God.
Not Praying Daily
The most meaningful things in life require effort and consistency. Make time for daily prayer, even if it’s just a few minutes.
Prayer is a powerful way to communicate with God and deepen your relationship with Him. Set aside a specific time each day for prayer, whether it’s in the morning or before bed. And remember, praying doesn’t have to be formal or long – simply speak from your heart and trust that God is listening.
Don’t Miss The Brown Paper Bag
A brown paper bag sounds kind of silly doesn’t it? But when you take a new approach and fill this bag with a lunch to share with someone who looks hungry, you show kindness and compassion in a practical way.
Share your blessings with others and spread love by packing an extra lunch or snack to give to someone in need. It may seem small, but it can make a big difference in someone’s day. Plus, you never know how much of an impact a simple act of kindness can have on someone’s life.
Cut Out Salt
The perfect time to cut out salt is now. Reducing your salt intake can benefit your health in many ways, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Try adding herbs and spices to flavor your food instead of relying on salt. And remember, moderation is key – it’s okay to indulge in salty snacks or meals occasionally, but make sure it doesn’t become a regular part of your diet. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll feel more energized and healthy overall.
Not Enough Sleep
Develop the new habit of going to bed at a consistent time each night.
Lack of sleep can affect our mood, energy levels, and overall health. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night by establishing a regular bedtime routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment. Your body will thank you and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Losing Your Temper
Last year I worked on my short temper which tends to sneak up on me when I’m sleep deprived and stressed (our landlords sold our house after 4 years of renting and gave us 3 months to be out) and it was not easy.
But I realized that not controlling my temper only added to the stress and didn’t solve any problems. So, I found healthier ways to cope with my emotions, including prayer, and miracles unfolded for our family.
Not Being Grateful Enough
The easy way to feel happy is to focus on the things you are grateful for.
Take a few moments each day to reflect on what you are thankful for, no matter how big or small it may seem. Gratitude can shift our perspective and bring more joy into our lives.
Bad habits are sometimes hard to break, which is why I love the Lenten season.
It’s a perfect time to give up processed foods and focus on incorporating more whole, natural foods into your diet. Your body will thank you with increased energy, clearer skin, and improved overall health. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.
Buying New Clothes or Books
Material things can bring temporary happiness, but they won’t solve our deeper issues.
Instead of spending money on unnecessary items, invest in experiences and relationships that will truly enrich your life. Travel to a new place, try a new activity, or simply spend quality time with loved ones. These memories will last longer than any material possession.
Wasting Time On The Internet
One form of sacrifice during Lent can be limiting the time spent on social media and other online platforms.
Instead, use that time to focus on self-care activities like reading, journaling, or exercising. This will not only improve your mental and physical well-being, but also help you break the addiction to constant scrolling and comparing yourself to others. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.
Saying Negative Things About Yourself
Please know that Heavenly Father loves you so much and sees you as His perfect creation.
Instead of tearing yourself down with negative self-talk, practice speaking words of love to yourself. You are enough, just as you are. And remember, progress is more important than perfection. Let go of the need for constant self-improvement and learn to love and accept yourself unconditionally.
Comparing Yourself To Others
Small things like comparing yourself to your someone else’s social media posts can add up and negatively impact your self-esteem.
Instead, focus on your own life and all the good you’re doing in the world. Remember that everyone has their own struggles and challenges, and what you see online is not always the full picture. Be kind to yourself. You are enough just as you are, and with Jesus, he makes us more.
Stop putting off tasks and responsibilities, and instead, tackle them head on.
Make a list of things you’ve been avoiding and commit to completing one item on your list every day. This will not only help you be more productive, but also build self-discipline and confidence. And don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.
Excessive Caffeine Consumption
There are so many good things to drink in this world, and caffeine is one of them.
However, consuming excessive amounts can lead to jitters, anxiety, and disrupted sleep patterns. Practice moderation and find other ways to boost your energy throughout the day, such as taking short breaks to stretch or going for a walk outside.
Using Disposable Cups/Plates/Cutlery
The last time I was in a parking lot there were so much garbage scattered everywhere.
To reduce waste and help the environment, try using reusable cups, plates, and cutlery whenever possible. Not only will this be better for the planet, but it can also save you money in the long run.
A popular choice for a fun activity includes buying stuff to help boost our mood.
However, impulse shopping can lead to overspending and clutter in our homes. Instead of giving into the temptation, try easy steps like setting a budget for yourself before going shopping and sticking to it. You can also try waiting 24 hours before making a purchase to see if you really need the item or if it was just an impulsive desire.
Negativity on Social Media
Have a great time online by not leaving negative comments or posts.
Spreading negativity on social media not only affects others, but it can also bring down your own mood and outlook. Instead, focus on sharing positive and uplifting content every day for Lent. Remember, what you put out into the world can have a direct impact on your own well-being.
Go through the entire day without telling any white lies or half-truths.
Being fully honest and transparent can help improve relationships and bring more authenticity into your life. It may be difficult at first, but practice being truthful in all your interactions and see how it positively affects your connections with others.
Honesty is truly the best policy.
Traditional Lenten Sacrifices
Traditional Lenten ideas often revolve around common practices where we indulge — think of confectionary delights, favorite pastimes, and the inescapable allure of digital distractions.
Though it’s comforting to have our favorite show and book, there’s something about abstaining from these small pleasures that helps us reflect and redirect our focus.
Here are some more traditional sacrifices you can make for Lent:
Cup of Coffee
Junk Food / Fast Food
Soda – Yes, even Diet Coke
Glass of Wine
Keep in mind that these sacrifices are just suggestions and not meant to replace the traditional sacrifices of giving up meat on Fridays or fasting during Lent. They are meant to encourage you to be more mindful and intentional with your choices, leading to a healthier mind, body, and spirit.
So this Lenten season, give yourself the gift of self-care by making small sacrifices that will have a positive impact on your overall well-being.
Did you know that during Lent, Fridays are important for those in the Catholic Church? They’re obligatory days of abstinence.
And if you fall between the ages of 18 and 59, fasting is also mandatory for you. But don’t worry, it’s not as intense as it sounds.
When fasting, you get to enjoy one full meal and two smaller meals that don’t add up to a full meal. So you can still satisfy your hunger while honoring this tradition.
Then Holy Saturday, which is the day before Easter Sunday, marks the end of Lent.
So, as we enter the season of Lent in the Christian calendar, let’s take a moment to understand and appreciate our own Lenten journey.
Making It Meaningful
Regardless of what you choose to give up, the key to observing Lent is intentionality. It’s about understanding the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.
When you decide to give up something, dedicate that extra time or resources toward acts of compassion, service, or further spiritual growth.
As we start our Lenten season on Ash Wednesday, I encourage you to reflect on your own life and identify areas where a bit of self-denial can bloom into a beautiful act of charity, both for yourself and those around you.
Let these new Lenten practices ignite a deeper sense of purpose and joy in your journey through this sacred season.
Remember, Lent is not merely about the sacrifice; it’s about the transformation that the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ can bring about.
So, let’s make this Lent one to remember, not just for the things we gave up, but for the incredible growth we will experience.
Micah Klug is a wife, homeschooling mother to five children, and author. She teaches time-tested solutions to help parents remember what matters most in life, including strengthening their home, faith, and family relationships. To learn how a child who grew up in an authoritarian home is now creating an environment of peace and joy in her own home visit this page. If you want to contact Micah, send her an email here or email [email protected].