A former manager (and an old friend whom I miss) used to say,
"If you want to be successful, you have to follow this outline:
- Know your goal.
- Make your plan.
- Write your plan.
- Work your plan.
- Review your plan daily.
- Never give up."
Ash Wednesday will arrive in less than 5 days. If you're reading this, you cannot use the excuse that it caught you off guard.
Don't wait til the last minute, quickly coming up with "something to give up or do for Lent" just as a formality or out of obligation. You're much better than that and certainly are called to be much better than that.
I encourage you to "Lent up" this year. Take your Lenten journey to the next level, whatever level that may be. Stop eating the "baby food" of your Faith when there's an unbelievably satisfying banquet that awaits you.
You know what I mean, so I won't even put the guilt trip on you by actually stating that lame thing you keep repeating every Lent. The one that is your "go-to".
Let's face it. If it was that tough, you wouldn't keep choosing the same thing over and over. If it was something that really edified your Faith, you would have quit it all together (if it's a "give up " thing) or would have continued it regularly (if it's a "going to do" thing).
While you pray about this, thinking about what your plan will be, keep in mind what the purpose of Lent is in the first place.
Right, plan. Make a plan, not just a quickie item or two. Consider a combo: Give up something and utilize the savings (financial or time) on something good or spiritually constructive.
Perhaps an outline of your plan could be:
- I recognize A as being something in my life that I struggle with or that is holding me back from having a more meaningful relationship with God, so I am going to eliminate A from my life.
- I recognize that B would be something that I could really use or do that will help me grow spiritually or with my walk with God, so I am going to add B to my life.
- Additionally, I see X as something in my life that I enjoy. I see Y as a need that my church or someone else has. X is not necessarily "bad" for me, but by eliminating this particular thing from my life during Lent, I can use the money (or time) that I usually spend on X to give to Y.
While this is just one suggestion of what your plan outline might look like, feel free to use it for yourself. You just have to fill in A, B, X, and Y.
Of course I don't mind telling you that first, your goal should be to become more like Jesus.
Then write your plan down. Look at it. Read it over. Know it.
When Lent arrives, you will be immediately ready to work your plan. Do what you set out to do.
No matter how much you think you know your plan, review your plan daily. Reviewing it visually once you have put it into practice may help you to see things that can be modified to help you achieve the goal you have set.
If you falter or mess up, don't give up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again. Never give up.
God never gives up on you.