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...]

Author Interview: Meet Christian Mompreneur Lisa Williams

Lisa WilliamsIs it time for you to go back to school? I’m not talking college, I’m talking Wife School! Christian mompreneur Lisa Williams is on a mission to ignite a desire in women to learn new life skills so they can thrive in healthy, growing and godly marriages. “It took seven years through separation, divorce and remarriage to my same husband, for me to learn how to be a suitable helper,” says Lisa. “I finally got it! My hope is that other wives benefit from the wisdom I acquired through the process.”

Lisa shares her experience with us in a life application study on Christian marriage called Wife School. I had the opportunity to chat with Lisa and find out more about her ministry and her book, Wife School. I pray this blesses you and your marriage! 

 

Meet Lisa Williams, Author of Wife School: Using God’s Word to Build a Stronger Marriage 

Q: What inspired you to write Wife School?

A: In 2005, I began teaching a small group Bible Study in my home. I shared with other wives lessons I learned about being a godly wife as a result of my seven year separation and ultimate divorce and remarriage to the same husband.

Over time, I identified recurring themes and basic principles that when practiced, yielded positive results in marriage.  Writing Wife School was my way of sharing those lessons with wives outside of my home so that marriages everywhere might benefit.  

 

Q: As you wrote Wife School who did you have in mind?

 A: I am frequently asked if my message and Wife School is a good tool for counseling wives who are in a deteriorating marriage.  My answer is always NO. The wife I had in mind is not hurting. She is not separated. She is not on the way to divorce court.   

 Wife School is written for the wife living in a healthy and growing marriage. This is the best season to study the Bible learning practical ways to build an even stronger marriage.  This study is a great tool to do just that.

 

Q: In Wife School you write about the importance of being a wife on purpose. What does that mean? [Read more...]

Avoiding Friendly Fire: Tips for Setting Boundaries When You Work From Home

boundariesIt’s no secret that many work-at-home moms have a difficult time getting things done. We’re constantly being torn in conflicting directions. No matter how old your children are, or how many children you have, there always seems to be one demanding your attention just as you sit down to write a blog post or review your financials. If it’s not a child, then perhaps it’s a phone call from your mother or an unannounced visit from a neighbor.  Or even a client texting you in the midst of an artificial crisis. We are frequently under attack by the mompreneur version of “Friendly Fire” in which our own team is unintentionally sabotaging our success.

It’s not just interruptions that derail our productivity. Oftentimes it’s our own delusional drive to be a multi-tasking super mamma. We set ourselves up for failure simply by believing we can do all things and be all things for all people at once. Truthfully, it’s not our children, friends, neighbors or clients who are to blame when we suffer from chronic interruptions. It’s our own fault for failing to establish firm boundaries.

It may sound harsh and uncaring, but even the most loving mom needs to set boundaries at times. I know our MOST important job is being a mom, but I personally believe that doesn’t mean we have to drop everything and be at the beck and call of our children at all times. And the same goes for our clients, co-workers and employees. This is the generation of connectivity and it takes every ounce of self-control we can muster to disconnect for our own good. But it’s worth it. In fact, I think we do our families and clients a disservice by teaching them to seek instant gratification via our immediate response. Rather, I suggest we teach them the value of boundaries.

Now, only YOU can determine exactly what those boundaries should be…and exactly how you plan to enforce them. But if you’re being assaulted by Friendly Fire on a daily basis, then you might want to try some of these tips for setting boundaries.

Tips for Setting Boundaries for Work-at-Home Moms

1. Get clear on your priorities. The number one thing that gets in our way when it comes to setting boundaries is guilt. We feel guilty if we don’t play with our children when they ask. And we feel guilty when we tell a client we’re not available because we’re taking the kids to the park. But if you wake up each day with clarity of purpose, then you will know how you should spend your time and you won’t feel guilty about your choices. Not sure how to get clear on your priorities? Spend some time in prayer and in your journal.

2. Set expectations. Once you are clear on your priorities, you actually have to tell others what to expect. If you’re a stay-at-home-mom embarking on a new business venture, you will have to explain this change to your friends and family so they don’t expect you to be free for coffee every day at 10 am. If your little ones are old enough to understand, try telling them why it’s important for mommy to work and how you are fulfilling God’s call by sharing your gifts and serving others. And if they’re teenagers, maybe it will help to explain that the extra income will pay for their summer vacation. Need to bring your husband on board? Try these five ways to help your husband fall in love with your business. [Read more...]