Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Changing My Beliefs

by Deanna

Today begins the Christian season of Lent.  Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. The 40 days consists of every day of the week, except Sundays, and ends on Thursday prior to Easter Sunday.
When I changed my faith from Protestant to Roman Catholic in 1963, Lent represented for me a time to give up something that I really liked. I don’t remember Lent being a time of giving up prior to becoming Catholic, but then again that was well over 50 years ago and memories fade. Back in those early days of being Catholic my sacrifice was usually always Pepsi Cola. I have been a Pepsi fan for many years and still enjoy an occasional glass.  That Pepsi was to represent giving up, sacrificing my desires in response to Christ’s sacrifice for us. As I grow older and hopefully wiser, my beliefs in Lent have changed.
The latest studies indicate that the top things given up are…social networking, alcohol, chocolate, twitter, chips, and sweets. Granted, giving up social networking and twitter would be a good thing considering how much hatred spews from those two outlets. And depending on how much alcohol one consumes would probably fit into that category of being a good thing. But chocolate, chips, sweets, and Pepsi aren’t my idea of what Lent is about.  
My beliefs about how I choose to spend Lent have certainly changed over the years. After 50 years of being a member of the Catholic faith I rejoined the Presbyterian church, the church of my youth.  Now instead of giving up Pepsi I have elected to try a different approach to the season. Not only are these good practices during Lent, but living by these standards each day are what I believe everyone should strive to achieve throughout life whatever religion you may or may not practice.
1. SMILE. A Christian is always cheerful
2. Say THANK YOU for little things (even if you don't have to).
3. Remind others how much you LOVE them.
4. GREET with joy the persons you see every day.
5. LISTEN to other people's stories without prejudice, and with love.
6. STOP to help. Pay attention to whoever needs you. 
7. Try to RAISE the spirits of people around you.
8. CELEBRATE the qualities or success of others, thus avoiding envy or jealousy.
9. SORT OUT the things you no longer use or need, and give them to those in need.
10. Be ready to HELP when you are needed so that others may rest.
11. GIVE CORRECTIONS with love, do not keep quiet out of fear.
12. Maintain good relations with those around you. 
13. Keep clean the things you use in the house.
14. HELP others overcome obstacles.
15. CALL, and call on, your parents more often.
And if fasting is still something you feel is needed in your life during the season of Lent perhaps you might try this list.
• Fast on offensive words and transmit only sweet and tender words
• Fast on dissatisfaction and fill yourself with gratitude.
• Fast on anger and fill yourself with meekness and patience. 
• Fast on pessimism and be filled with optimism
• Fast on worries and be filled with confidence in God
• Fast on laments and take pleasure in the simple things of life.
• Fast on stress and fill yourself with prayer.
• Fast on sadness and bitterness, and fill your heart with joy.
• Fast on selfishness, and be filled with compassion for others.
• Fast on unforgivingness and vendetta, and be filled with acts of reconciliation and forgiveness.
• Fast on words and fill yourself with silence and readiness to listen to others.
However you choose to spend this season of Lent may you be blessed.

PS – Today is also the beginning of a new month and a new monthly theme. This month we are looking for “signs of spring”.  Some of you are already enjoying fresh blooms, others may not see Spring for a couple more months. Whatever you see we would love for you to share with us on our FOL flickr page found here 


Carol said...

That's a beautiful list Deanna!

Sandra said...

What a lovely list of things to do and especially 'to be'. Even if we just manage a few we can make life around us a more agreeable place to live in, for others, but also for ourselves. Well said, Deanna.

AFishGirl said...

It is indeed a beautiful list.

terriporter said...

What a wonderful list, Deanna! It's one that everyone should read and take to heart. But knowing you as I do, I know you live by these rules year round, not just during Lent, and I guess that's the point. Making small changes that turn into life changes. Oh, if everyone could follow these rules, what a wonderful world this would be! Thanks for sharing this!

Lisa Gordon said...

Such a special post, Deanna!
Thank you.
Wishing you a beautiful Lenten season.

kelly said...

this a beautiful way to look at lent Deanna. hoping to fast from many of the things on this list. xoxo

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

© Focusing On Life