Lent for Non-believers

A note before we get going: I am not a Christian and I am not telling anyone what to believe or not, or what to do.  I hope this doesn’t come across as trivialising the Christian tradition – I know that it means more to some of you than just giving something up.  I only want to say that I have found something meaningful in what you are doing.  This is my opinion only 😉 enjoy!

Lent is traditionally observed by Christians from Ash Wednesday to Easter, mirroring Jesus’ 40 days and 40 nights fasting in the desert.  If you want to find out more, check out the Wikipedia article here.

What are the Benefits of Lent?

Even though it is a Christian tradition, it has many merits for the non-religious.  It’s several months after the New Year, so it offers a good opportunity to remind you to check up on your goals.

Lent also provides a structure for achieving your goals.  There is a set amount of time for you to change something in your life – nobody will blame you for reverting back to it once Lent is over, but if it works and you have truly changed your life for the better, you can carry on!  As the saying goes, the hardest part is getting started.

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This year, Pope Francis has reminded us in his letter that Lent shouldn’t just be about us – it might do you good but it probably won’t help anyone else.

He suggests that we should give up something for Lent that will better others as well as ourselves; for example, if you’re giving up social media, you should spend that time with your family.  If it’s coffee you will cut down on, you can donate that money you would have spent to charity.

As Time magazine writes:

“”What are you giving up for Lent?” It’s a question a lot of people will get these next few days. If you want to change your body, perhaps alcohol and candy is the way to go. But if you want to change your heart, a harder fast is needed. This narrow road is gritty, but it isn’t sterile.”

What I’m Giving Up For Lent

Although Lent is generally associated with fasting and giving up sugar or chocolate, I think that it is also becoming common to give up a bad habit that isn’t to do with food.  With that in mind, I have resolved to give up the following 5 things for the 40 days (if not more):

1. Complaining

Complainers are a pain in the backside.  They just sit there and whine and don’t do anything to actually solve the problem.  Constructive complaining can be good, to bring a problem to your attention, but not excessive complaining.

Sometimes it’s not even a problem that they’re complaining about – it can be something that is painful or an effort to do but is good for them.  Just get on with it.  No pain no gain, right?

(I’m talking about them in the third person, but remember I’m one of them too)

2. Late Nights

I have such an erratic sleep cycle, I need to get to bed early.  There are just so many benefits to getting a good nights’ sleep (including better recall memory, which I need right now).

3. Irritability

I seem to have already broken this because I’ve just been digging at complainers, but I reckon I have been better than I was.  I need to develop more patience with people, especially with my brother!

4. Chocolate

OK, I’m already guilty of breaking this, which is why I’m putting on here.  It’s so difficult for me (a chocolate lover) and probably a large source of my sugar intake.  Hopefully, I’ll be healthier without chocolate (probably not happier though…)

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5. Judging

I can’t help observing things, but judging is when you form a negative opinion without any deeper understanding.  What’s worse is if you share it.  It does neither you nor anybody else any good.

6. Defensiveness

I have a tendency to hate being wrong, and whenever someone puts forward a different view I will immediately get defensive by becoming slightly offended.  This is such a bad habit because the other person usually becomes defensive because their message isn’t getting across and nobody learns anything new.

What About You?

What are you guys giving up for Lent?  Do you think it is a good thing to do?  Let me know in the comments!

By the way, I have updated the rules for my Daring To You page – if you just comment your favourite post and follow the rules, I will read through it and hopefully reblog it!  Looking forward to giving you guys some more recognition 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Lent for Non-believers

  1. I love this. I’m not Christian, but I agree – Lent is a good time to reassess goals and check in. I’m giving up SAYING that Ill do things and I’m practicing ACTUALLY doing them more. I’ve got two tattoos booked in so far and gone to the gym twice this week! 😀 x

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s amazing!! Yeah Lent comes at that time when you’ve finished deciding what to do and are starting to actually do them – putting ideas into action is the hardest part! Keep going x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post. I am also a non-Christian in a country that is well-rooted in its traditional Christian beliefs. Still, I am thankful for Lent ’cause it allows me time to take a breather and rest. During Lent, I give up rushing into things and getting so frantic about everything, and simply take things slowly and appreciate every little moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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