We are already into the second week of Lent so it’s a good time to take a step back and see how our individual Lent is going. Have you been able to stick to your Lenten promise? Were you able to take something on or give something up this Lent? Or has Lent left you with a “meh” feeling and you are just wishing Easter and some spring weather would get here already?
If Lent is helping you grow closer to Jesus, congratulations! Let us all know what you’ve been doing because suggestions can help others on their spiritual journey. If you are in the “meh” group, never fear, you can always hit the restart button and just go from here. Remember God is pure love and full of mercy and He tells us over and over in Sacred Scripture to “Be not afraid.” So put the past in the past and move forward but maybe use a different strategy.
Remember the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If in your spiritual life you are doing the same things and expecting different results, then its time for a change. Our loving of God and our growing in relationship with Jesus should never be static. We need to be constantly tweaking our spiritual life in order to make sure that we are not in a rut with no potential to connect with Christ on a deeper level.
Getting out of a spiritual rut is not meant to easy, after all, who has ever grown in anything when things were easy. You can only learn if you experience the struggle associated with the process. The same goes for our spiritual lives. If it feels easy then you are not growing. You must move out of your comfort zone to bring Jesus into clearer focus. God is patient and He longs for every step we take that brings us closer to Him.
If your Lent is not going well so far, change your plan of attack. If the thing you are trying to give up seems too hard, change your perspective on why you were trying to give up that particular thing in the first place. For example when your abstinence of something makes you uncomfortable do not just say, “This is too hard,” but instead offer your discomfort up as a personal prayer. “Lord, I really hate that I am not having that dessert, but I offer it up for my friend who is battling cancer. Make my discomfort her comfort.” Making prayer personal holds us accountable to the things we have given up. The same goes for taking something on. In your action of doing something you weren’t doing previously, offer each act up as a personal prayer for someone else. Want another way to be accountable, tell the person you are praying for that you are praying for them. When you share your goals with others they are much harder to let slip.
Another tip for jump starting your Lent is to put God first, literally. I am so fortunate that I am able to meet monthly with a wonderful Spiritual Director. In short, a Spiritual Director is someone you meet with on a regular basis to discuss how you are doing in your prayer life. Once in spiritual direction my director wanted me to try to pray a Morning Offering. A Morning Offering is a short prayer you say each morning before your feet hit the floor. When I finally took the advice it made a huge difference in my prayer life. No matter what kind of day that followed, whether it was good, bad or awful, I knew that I had given the Day to God and He’d use it however He saw fit.
Here is the prayer I use:
Oh my Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in thanksgiving for your favors, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my friends and family, and especially for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen.
There are many variations of this Morning Offering out there, so you can find one that speaks to you. The intent is to start your day in God’s presence. By establishing a habit of putting God first in your day, He will use your prayer to draw you closer to Him throughout the day.