Wednesday, February 13, 2013

J - O - Y

The season of Lent is fast approaching. Adam is Catholic and I am Methodist and sometimes we go to church together and sometimes we go separately. This past Sunday we decided to go to Mass together and it was a great decision.

The priest who led the service is fairly young and also fairly new to this particular parish. We've heard him several times, but I have to say, this particular Mass was his best yet. For starters, I think he's getting more comfortable with his congregation, but what made the Mass was his explanation of how he chooses what to do for Lent. In both the Methodist and the Catholic church, Lent is a time to give up or take up something, in hopes that you can make it a habit. In the past I've given up soft drinks, biting my nails, chocolate, and things like that. And in some past years, I've taken up working out, running, or something of that nature.

But this year, I think I want to follow this priest's suggestion and use his acronym J - O - Y.

The "J" in the acronym stands for Jesus. During the season of Lent, the priest stated that he always strives to do something that will bring him closer to Jesus. This year for Lent, I've decided that I need to focus on prayer and praying more often. I've found that I tend to pray when I need something, rather than praying simply to say "thank you" for all of my many blessings in life. Adam and I have also decided to start praying together more often. I think this Lenten resolution is one that is sort of two-fold in that it will bring us closer to God and closer to each other...which, in effect, also means we're doing something good for ourselves!

The "O" in this acronym stands for "others". Do something that will benefit others. Adam and I have decided to start volunteering once a month. We're still trying to decide where we'd like to volunteer, but there are a lot of great options in maybe we'll rotate! This is something we would like to start during Lent and aim to continue after Lent. So often I feel like I set Lenten goals and as soon as we get through Easter, I'm back to my old ways. This year, both Adam and I are focusing on making these things habits!

Finally, the "Y". The "Y" stands for "yourself". Do something for yourself during Lent. The priest told us that this could be anything from treating yourself to doing something that will benefit your body, mind and soul. I've decided to try and focus on two things...body and attitude. My first goal is to focus on being more positive in difficult scenarios. It's hard to stay upbeat when you're approached by someone who has had a hard day or is negative for some other reason. I want to work on staying positive in hopes that it will rub off on those around me! The second thing, is working on my body. I've been kind of slack about working out and it's time to get into a routine and get in shape. During Lent (and hopefully after...) I will do something athletic at least five days a week. I'm not putting any stipulations on what athletic means, but rather just encouraging myself to do something (walking, running, a class at the gym...).

While receiving the ashes on my forehead this morning, I realized that I am excited about Lent. I'm hoping that the goals I have are goals that will help me be a better Christian, a better healthier person and that these goals will bring me J - O - Y.

What are you doing for Lent?

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