Growing in Faith

Growing in Faith-Part 6: Praising God Through Lent

Picture from: http://www.holyfamilysisters.org/
Picture from: http://www.holyfamilysisters.org/

This is the first year that I’m really celebrating Lent as a born-again Christian. I was baptized this past November at my church in front of a large congregation and friends, and I’ve seen so much change in my life. I’m still a work in progress, and I will continue to have failures, but I continue to strive to strengthen my relationship with Christ. If you’re not sure what Lent is, it is a Christian season of preparation for the Easter holiday. This is a season to reflect, and a time to practice moderation and spiritual discipline. While Lent only lasts about a month (March 5 until April 15), as Christians, we should all make sure to spend some time each day to re-focus on God. During this time, many Christians choose one challenging thing/item/practice to give up, but it is also important to pick up something else that will help you re-kindle and re-focus on God. The Lent season will be different for everyone, and I love to hear about what others are doing to strengthen their faith and replenish their spirituality.

This was tough for me. I wanted to pick something that I knew would be extremely challenging for me. I thought back to the times I’ve given up social media like Instagram and Facebook, and it didn’t prove to be as difficult to give up as I had thought. Moreover, I didn’t feel like giving up social media would challenge me in the right way. One thing I’ve always struggled with is sleeping the precious days away. We are alive for a reason. It is God, and God alone, who keeps the world running. We breathe because God has allowed us to continue. Our journey is not yet done. I thought, “it is such a waste for me to sleep away my days and to not fully enjoy the time I’m here no matter what I’m going through.” Thus, the idea to give up the snooze button was born. I am awful with snoozing. Ask my husband. I could set several alarms as loud as my iPhone will allow, and I will still hit the snooze button every 5 minutes for sometimes over an hour and half. After research and lecturing from my husband, I’ve realized this has become a nasty and unhealthy habit. First and foremost, once I do wake up I find myself rushing, or on the weekends, I’ve slept most of the day away.  Second, our bodies have an incredibly accurate natural internal clock, but this requires setting a reasonable bedtime that you can stick with. Once our bodies revert to a natural rhythm, we pass through the stages of sleep like we are supposed to: dozing off, deep sleep, light sleep, awake. By hitting snooze, many people tend to fall back into deep sleep (I know I do), and  repeatedly doing this by hitting the snooze button can make you feel even worse once you do eventually stumble out of bed in a fuzzy haze.

I’m determined to break the nasty habit of hitting snooze and to enjoy each day God gives me fully. I’m a night owl by trade, so I’m still working on getting to bed at a decent hour, but I do usually get between 6-8 hours of sleep a night and a bit more on the weekends. In order for my mind to click on and prevent me from hitting the snooze button, I set a loud and annoying alarm and placed my phone on my dresser pretty far from the bed. On the morning of March 6th, the alarm went off, I got up, and I stayed up. I was so excited. So far, I’ve been able to keep myself mentally determined enough to just get up that I’ve made it through three mornings of getting up immediately once the alarm goes off. At this rate, I should be able to break the habit. This is a feat I didn’t think I’d ever obtain. It’s been wonderful though. I’ve had more time to go through my morning routine, to enjoy my showers, to make a cup of coffee, to make a light breakfast, to see and feel the beginnings of the sun shine through the window. Each day is a blessing. I need to slow down every once in awhile.

The practice that I’ve taken up for Lent is writing down my prayers each night and reading two chapters of the Bible. At the end of the Lent season I intend to go back through my prayers and see what God has been doing my life. Writing down my prayers has been wonderfully therapeutic for me, and I just let the Holy Spirit guide me through some of the tough things that are on my mind. I often find myself exhausted at the end of the day, but I’ve remained committed to this practice for three days so far, and I hope to make sure that I’m spending some time with God each day regardless as to where I am or what I’m feeling. Happy Lent!

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