Lent: As told by my high school religion teacher

As Lent is kicked off with Ash Wednesday tomorrow, I’ve seen and heard a lot people saying what they’re planning on giving up. As I began to think about what I myself should give up, I thought back to my junior year religion class with Mr. Hart (for those of you CCHS alum reading this).

When discussing Lent, Mr. Hart said to us:

“Instead of giving up something, I search for a way to better improve myself and help the people around me.”

I remember this clearly because it really stood out to me. For many years I had been told that I must give something up for Lent and that’s all I needed to do. Since going to Central and through getting older, I have realized Lent is about much more than that.

Yes, giving up Twitter or junk food can certainly better yourself for Lent, but I find that doing something to better yourself as a person without giving something up is just as or even more fulfilling.

Personally, I don’t believe giving up just one form of social media is a great thing to give up. I completely agree with wanting to be more present by not checking you phone constantly, but I don’t necessarily think it can really better you as a person. Just think- in 40 days you’ll be back to your old ways, refreshing twitter and scrolling through instagram.

This summer I decided to give up twitter, instagram, and snapchat for a month and let me tell you- it was hard. But I honestly went right back to my old ways and I don’t believe that I bettered myself in the long run. I have not changed my habits and although I try to be more present, it’s not always true.

For me personally, I want to do something that is going to help me change who I am, hopefully for a long period in the future, not just 40 days.

This Lent, I have decided that I’m going to go to the gym 4 times a week- something I’ve definitely failed to do this year. I really think that it will relieve some of my stress that I build up during the week, help my self-esteem, and make me feel better about my body.

I also want to get more involved in community service, and I hope to be able to dedicate at least 4 hours a week to service. Ever since my service trip to God’s Love, I’ve been wanting to do more service but have not had the time to sit down and figure out what I’m going to do. I think that I need to make this a priority in my life and I’m going to use this period to help me kick it off.

I realize that these things are important to me, but I’ve been neglecting them lately. I think my 40 days of Lent would be best used if I could improve myself and people’s lives around me. By doing these things I realized that I could really help myself with things I’ve been struggling with lately.

Whether it’s giving something up, or doing an action to help yourself and others, I think the most important part of Lent is challenging yourself to live how Jesus would. Try new things, make some sacrifices, focus on your own mind, body, and faith while focusing on helping others at the same time.

I’m not very religious, only going to church from time to time, but I think that Mr. Hart and his view on Lent is something that is unique and needs to be shared.

I hope you enjoy and have a happy Ash Wednesday!

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