40 Days and 40 Nights – My Lent Experience

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If you clicked on this post thinking I was going to breakdown the 2002 chick flick staring Josh Hartnett, I truly apologize if I disappointed your nostalgic dreams. What I mean by 40 days and 40 nights is the amount of time I went without watching television of any kind recently. Between February 14th and March 29th I embarked on my first ever Lent experience and today I’m sharing the what, why, and hows to my fast, and hope that you will stay tuned (no pun intended).

What is Lent?

The Lent fast is a Christian tradition, however many non-believers also take part. On Ash Wednesday, people from all over the globe give up certain foods or even habits to improve their health or demonstrate self-constraint. For Christians Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. In total Lent lasts for 40 days until Easter, but is without Sundays included in the count.

 

Why did I decide to partake in Lent?

There’s a variety of reasons why I decided to partake in Lent this year, but I will assure you that it wasn’t because I willingly wanted to give up This Is Us, Married at First Sight, or Vanderpump Rules…when I say that I have my faithful lineup of weekly shows, I’m not kidding. There’s nothing I enjoy more than leaving work, hitting the gym, and coming home to relax beside the television remote. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m television-obsessed, however it’s surely been a release after a long day. Prior to the start of Lent my church went into discussion about the Lent experience and challenged all to partake. One to typically dip from commitments after a week or so in, I wanted to take this opportunity to not only challenge myself spiritually, but mentally as well.

 

How did I spend my time in lieu of hitting the couch?

Listen when I tell you that I didn’t realize how much precious time I was literally wasting prior to this fast. Quick to say “I’m exhausted” after a long day, I often made excuses as to why I couldn’t complete additional tasks outside of going to work, the gym, sleeping, and then repeating. Rather, I would spend 2-3 hours before my bedtime glued to the telly, watching any and everything. With the elimination of television I was able to focus my attention on things that truly matter to me such as: the cultivation of friendships (making plans and sticking to them), reading daily (including my daily devotional), creating a peaceful space, and exercising more frequently. With this I found that I often ended the day with much more energy than before, and those around me noticed that I was intentionally making more time for them as well. And get this (because you all know how much I love my books), I was able to knock out a book or two a week! During my fast I quickly realized that it was all about setting realistic goals and being able to reflect throughout the process. Within these 40 days I fell in love with taking care of myself; mind, body, and spirit included. Interested in kick starting your own personal self-care challenge? See below for your 30 Day Mental Cleanse Challenge:

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click here to download 

 

What were my major takeaways?

Overall my first fasting experience taught me a lot about discipline, time management, and investing my energy into the people and things that truly matter. Self-care isn’t always an easy feat, but my Lent experience forced me to dig deep and explore what it means to set intentions and stick with them. What will I challenge myself to give up next year for Lent? That’s still to be determined, however I know that this is an experience that I will continue to partake in year after year.

Did you fast this year, and if so what were you biggest takeaways? Please share in the comments below!

Give yourself some TLC,

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