Seven Unusual Ideas to Shake Things up for Lent

ChocolateNo matter how many times I give up chocolate for Lent, it’s still a challenge. But lately I’ve been feeling like I need to stretch myself a little more. In fact, I confided in my pastor that sometimes I find myself “going through the motions” in my spiritual life. And you know what he told me? He said I needed to “shake things up a bit.” He said that when we start feeling distracted or disconnected in our faith, then it’s time to dig a little deeper. Time to try something different to draw closer to Christ.

So, in the interest of shaking things up, here are a few unusual ideas for Lent. And, no, I’m not committing to all of them myself this season. I’m taking on just a few of these ideas. But I thought I’d share my brainstorm with you – in case you are looking to dig deeper in your faith in a different way.

Seven Unusual Ideas for Lent

1. Pray for 40 people. Make a list of 40 people you want to pray for. Commit to praying 40 minutes a day for one person per day. That’s actually a really long time for me to pray, so I won’t attempt to do it all at once. I’ll probably break it into four different sessions of 10 minutes. And one of those sessions might be a written prayer in my journal – or even a letter to that person to let them know I’m praying for them.

2. Go meatless for 40 days. I’ve always thought I had it easy during Lent because it’s no big deal for me to fast from meat on Fridays. I really don’t eat much meat – I don’t eat red meat at all, but occasionally I eat chicken or turkey. But what if – and I’m not making a commitment here – but what if I fasted from all meat for Lent. Would that be any more of a sacrifice? What if I avoided all animal products, including fish, dairy and eggs? That would be a challenge. Something to consider. What kind of change in your diet would stretch you? (If you’re fasting from meat, I found a bunch of meatless recipes here from CRS Rice Bowl!)

3. Go on a digital fast. This is something I probably need to do, but I’m not ready to take on this year. I’ve been using Rescue Time to track my productivity and have been shocked to discover that I spend between 4 and 7 hours a week on social media! And that’s just on my desktop – it doesn’t include the time I check Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter on my mobile. Clearly, I have some work to do in this arena. If I could fast from social media, imagine how much time I would have to spend with my family, read the Bible, exercise or even take a nap! Maybe next year…

lentenchallenge4. Spread the word. Lent is typically a time to go inward – to examine our own spiritual walk. But as Christians we are called to evangelize and to share our journey with others. So why not make a commitment to share the word of God with 40 people during Lent. Or, if you’re not planning to go on a digital fast, then here’s a great way to have fun while sharing your faith. Check out the Lenten Photo a Day Challenge on Instagram and Pinterest! Or try this Lenten Photo Challenge and you might win an Easter basket from CRS Fair Trade. [Read more...]

Meet Me On The G.I.R.L. Tour – Events for Christian Mompreneurs

GIRL Tour_facebook

Events for Christian Mompreneurs

The International Christian Mompreneur Network may be coming to a city near you!

No conference. No presentation. No cost.
Just a friendly hug and a chance to chat. Come say hello! [Read more...]

Verse of the Year 2014: Jeremiah 29:1

At the International Christian Mompreneur Network, we’re not making New Year’s Resolutions. We’re choosing a scripture verse to guide us through the year instead. We’re selecting a verse that speaks to our hearts and offers support, hope or motivation for us to live out the following year with purpose and direction. The following is part of a series of posts featuring members of the International Christian Mompreneur Network sharing their scripture verse of the year. We pray these posts will inspire and encourage you to select a scripture verse to guide you through the year as well.

Scripture Verse of the Year 2014 – By Christina Ryan Claypool

“He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Jeremiah 29“Help me, Jesus!” Desperately, I prayed this little prayer wondering if Heaven was listening, because the cash register in my thrift/antique store hadn’t rung up many sales lately. It was about two decades ago and I was a single mom supporting my young son through my retail establishment. I tried my best to be frugal with the earnings my small business brought in. But there hadn’t been much income in awhile, and I was pretty frantic.

Today, I still pray these three powerful words whenever I don’t know how else to pray. I call this my breath prayer. It is not so much that I recite it while asking for divine assistance. Rather it just comes spontaneously from a place deep inside that believes God is still in control, when circumstances scream that all is lost.

And I have to be honest with you, that’s where I was for months lately. Like there is just no way that God can make everything alright. This is in contrast to my public image as a woman of steadfast faith who has written Christian recovery books and in the past worked in television ministry. So, when I first saw a post asking for guest bloggers to share their Scripture for 2014, I tried to ignore it. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, and pretend that I had something significantly spiritual to tell others when I was experiencing my own dark night of the soul. 

But the request haunted me. “What will your 2014 Scripture be?” a still small voice asked relentlessly. Suddenly, I knew what it was, because there is an old postcard on my refrigerator that seemed to shout, “I’m it. Look at me.” To explain about the postcard, I have to travel back in time. For my husband’s job as a school administrator we have had to move four times in the past twelve years. My spouse came into my life late. Even though our first move wasn’t far, it caused me to leave my hometown, and to be miles away from my by then adult child. I was grieving, and couldn’t be consoled.

The year was 2004, and I was also attending graduate school in ministry at Ohio’s Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. One day in the university book shop, I happened to notice a postcard with a sky blue background and beautiful rainbow with the printed words, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11. I had always loved this verse. It also said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Impulsively, I bought the postcard and tucked it away. I didn’t think much about it, until it came time for our move. [Read more...]