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I have also never done it and am planning to do it this year!  

I did not grow up in a church that practiced Lent and now I attend a church where Lent is observed but not everyone practices it.  
 

It was new to me and then now over time I have gotten to where I want to try it.  I think it will help feel closer to Easter and for a longer time.  

I am not going to share what I am going to give up, it is something I feel like maybe I should just give up anyway.  

 

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We always fast (mostly) from chocolate. It's only mostly because one of our kids has a bday during Lent, and she is allowed to choose a dessert with chocolate. We use this as an introduction to fasting for our kids. I try to either fast from something else or add something good to my life as well. This year, it's my goal to attend Stations of the Cross weekly with our kids (we are Catholic). 

This year, we are trying something new with our kids. When we see good habits of prayer, fasting, works of mercy, or super good manners, they will be allowed to add a bean to a  jar. On Easter, those beans will be traded for jelly beans. At dinner during the Easter season, they will be able to nominate people who have continued good deeds from Lent (so prayer, fasting, etc...) and those people will get a jelly bean for each act until they are gone. 

I want to try and show them that we aren't supposed to make those changes just for a season. We make them to make ourselves better versions of ourselves, and hopefully those changes last!
 

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I agree that observing Lent helps me to anticipate and enjoy Pascha so much more.   

I'm another one who did not grow up observing Lent and didn't start until about 15yrs ago. We don't observe Lent as strictly as our church prescribes it but we do our best.   It was an adjustment and hasn't always been easy because it doesn't come naturally to me.   In fact, right now I'm grumbling in my mind about it coming up.    But I'm so glad we do it.  Pascha is such a happy happy celebration.

Blessed Lent to all who are observing. 

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I've given up sweets for Lent pretty much every year since I was a teen. It's not easy for me, but I do go back to it every year. It reminds me of sacrifice the whole season (though especially the first week or two) and it does make Easter that much more joyous. It also has health benefits--I feel better getting off the sugar and usually lose a couple of pounds. I wish I could maintain it as a more regular lifestyle, but at least I get a reset every year. It's a family thing here--we all go off sugar. I will make an exception or two that I define ahead of time, like we'll visit college kid next weekend and we just might go out for ice cream. But no casual, unplanned cheats.

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I did for about 15 years as a Protestant and now that I'm Orthodox, my fast is given to me. When I chose, I would give up coffee or alcohol or the Well-Trained Mind boards. The only year I was a wreck was the year I gave up both coffee and alcohol--mostly it was hard because these are social foods...

My Presbyterian pastor gave the best one line purpose statement I have ever heard about fasting:  "We fast to remove from ourselves the anesthetics we use to mask the pain of our sin."  That was why I fasted from the boards--I found that when I was impatient with my son, I ran to the boards to get a break.  Instead, I should have run to God in prayer, and to my son in love.  So, during Lent, when I got the urge to run to the boards, instead, I was *reminded* to go to prayer.  It was a good trainer.  

I'm a believer in fasting.  

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I have thought of doing a fast this year as well.  Alcohol would be too easy, I go for over 40 days without it anyway, so it would not be a deprivation.  Coffee......most people will want me to stay on coffee......🤣

Probably sugar or chocolate would be a good way to go.

I will have to think more about it, and pray about it.

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I should probably fast internet.  Or at least significantly limit.  

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Jesus said, "When you fast..." not "if you fast..." but I confess I have never done it for any significant length of time. Perhaps I should. 

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15 minutes ago, Pen said:

I should probably fast internet.  Or at least significantly limit.  

I think this is what I am going to do. I want to do it. Or severely restrict, like 10min a day to do all the mandatory email stuff. if you see me on here, it is because I decided to do candy instead.

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Lent isn't only about giving up something; it's also about doing something more, such as works of mercy, reading more scripture or praying for people you don't usually remember to pray for, stuff like that.

Edited by Ellie
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2 minutes ago, Ellie said:

Lent isn't only about giving up something; it's also about doing something more, such as works of mercy, reading more scripture or praying for people you don't usually remember to pray for, stuff like that.

This is why I am wanting to give up (mostly) the internet. I cheaply offer my time up to the god of the internet, the god who promises so much and leaves my soul feeling smaller. The god who demands so little of me. 

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56 minutes ago, annegables said:

This is why I am wanting to give up (mostly) the internet. I cheaply offer my time up to the god of the internet, the god who promises so much and leaves my soul feeling smaller. The god who demands so little of me. 

Well said.  How sadly true this is in my own life.

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1 hour ago, Ellie said:

Lent isn't only about giving up something; it's also about doing something more, such as works of mercy, reading more scripture or praying for people you don't usually remember to pray for, stuff like that.

Yep.  We are taught that it involves fasting, acts of mercy, and prayer.  The one-liner on that is that fasting without the other two...is just a diet.    :0)

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If you are Catholic or want to follow the Catholic fast--Don't forget that Sundays are feast days in the church and you do not need to keep your fast on feast days. Not everyone follows that, though. 

If you want to follow the strict Orthodox fast (Greek Orthodox?)--

http://www.abbamoses.com/fasting.html

 

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I thought about a few things and then remembered a priest who told me that if giving a thing up makes me less charitable to those around me that is not a good choice - so yeah 🙂

I've been meaning to get back into intermittent fasting, and not doing it. This might be a good time - to actually fast for a period of the day. 

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I am contemplating this as well.

I am leaning towards giving up Facebook. It sucks me in and often leaves me feeling worse in some way. I used to manage groups that used them a lot to communicate but I've pulled back from one group and the other we just use email/text now.

I am trying to figure out what to add. IDK hoping it will come to me or some ideas here will be good ones.

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

I thought about a few things and then remembered a priest who told me that if giving a thing up makes me less charitable to those around me that is not a good choice - so yeah 🙂

I've been meaning to get back into intermittent fasting, and not doing it. This might be a good time - to actually fast for a period of the day. 

Truth!!

"For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers? May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us."    St. John Chrysostom.

"

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6 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

Truth!!

"For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers? May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us."    St. John Chrysostom.

"

Once again proving that his silver tongue designation is accurate. That man had a way with words. 

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I'd love to find a replacement for nagging/reminding my teen-agers about stuff. 😉   Any suggestions?  

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5 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I'd love to find a replacement for nagging/reminding my teen-agers about stuff. 😉   Any suggestions?  

The Complaint-Free World method? Wear a bracelet every day. When you catch yourself, you have to switch it to the other wrist. The goal is that by the end, you seldom have to do it. You could invite your teens to point quietly at your wrist if you remind unnecessarily.

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2 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

If you are Catholic or want to follow the Catholic fast--Don't forget that Sundays are feast days in the church and you do not need to keep your fast on feast days. Not everyone follows that, though. 

If you want to follow the strict Orthodox fast (Greek Orthodox?)--

http://www.abbamoses.com/fasting.html

 

I was thinking this was not so bad (I already only eat meat on Mondays and avoid fish, dairy and alcohol entirely, for instance) until I saw olive oil. 😟 And then the not eating at all for two consecutive days. Wow, that's intense.

I'm already on a shower-minutes budget (150-minute cap for the month--If I run out of minutes, no more showering) and will likely continue. I might want to cap my internet minutes as well, but that's trickier.

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I wasn't raised with fasting, either, but as an adult I have chosen something for Lent some years.  I need to think about what for this year.

 

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I am thinking about it too. Sometimes it is hard for me to go to church (just emotionally/mentally). Going every week in Lent is a goal, as is reading my daily bible. I have mentioned this before, but the only time in my whole life I have kept any discipline in the spiritual sense was when I prayed every day and read my bible for the day during my dd's (ex-) bf's Air Force BMT. I know I can do it because I did it for him. It was such a gift to find that out. Since I wrote notes on Praying For E days in my bible (and journaled everyday about praying for him and about the readings),  I can go back and be reminded of God's faithfulness to me in the middle of that experience.  

So it would be lovely to keep a discipline and watch it bear fruit this Lent. I am depleted at the moment and would benefit both from the time with God and from knowing I didn't do it in my own strength but in God's. 

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We've always done the usual of giving up candy, or alcohol, or soda, or whatever. This year, DH is seriously considering giving up meat. 

I've been trying the last few years to add something in, instead of just giving something up. This year, I think that I'll add in an extra daily read-aloud to my kids after dinner, which will have the added benefit of limiting their nightly screentime. We will also try to do a decade of the rosary during our after lunch basket time on school days.

I also need to give up swearing. Again. 😔

Edited by Noreen Claire

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@Ktgrok - Goldenmouth.  

@Noreen Claire  I was just thinking of that!  In the Orthodox tradition we not only abstain for animal protein we also add in more prayers and almsgiving.  Here are few ideas of what people could add in terms of prayer/spiritual reading:

 

One of the saints (I can't remember who) would read through the Gospels through Lent.  I think he went through it more than one time and would just start it again when he finished.

One of the prayers we add daily is the Prayer of St. Ephraim:

       "O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.

       But give rather the spirit of purity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

       Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brothers and sisters, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen."

Or praying the Lord's Prayer or Psalm 51 is a good choice for starting. 

In my experience taking it slowly and small baby steps is strongly encouraged rather than trying to "do it all".   

Edited by PrincessMommy

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19 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

I did for about 15 years as a Protestant and now that I'm Orthodox, my fast is given to me. 

Patty, do you mind explaining what you mean by "given to me?"

 

And I absolutely love that one liner purpose statement!

Edited by myblessings4

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32 minutes ago, myblessings4 said:

Patty, do you mind explaining what you mean by "given to me?"

The Orthodox Church gives us a common fast.  There's a short story and a long story.  Here is the shortest I can make it.

The fast is really just abstention from foods--meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine, oil.  Pretty much vegan, but the wine and oil are in there, too.  We get wine and oil on Saturdays and Sundays during Lent.

There are other fasting periods through the year, and we generally fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.  

ALL of this has exceptions!

We are all in it together, which is very encouraging and supportive.  

Part of the Lenten rule is fasting.  The other parts are prayer (which we increase by having more services) and almsgiving (eating less food, so you have more money to give to the poor, theoretically...and we set side time to serve others.  

There is widespread understanding that temptation comes from the world, the flesh and the devil.  We combat these, respectively, with almsgiving, fasting, and prayer.  And we do it together, which is huge.  

 

ETA:  today is Meatfare--the last day we eat meat until Pascha (Easter).  You should have seen our coffee hour!!!  MEAT.  

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The past several years I have given up Facebook and it's been so refreshing and freeing each time! I try to spend some of that reclaimed time in prayer and meditation. I am no longer Catholic, but this is a Catholic tradition that still really resonates with me.

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Here we go. I uninstalled FB on my phone, as that is the biggest temptation. I have also decided to give up chocolate, which is a big sacrifice for me! Trying to focus on being thankful for all that I do have and the relative luxury I live in compared to the world, I am planning to keep spending to necessities. I am not a big spend thrift but found myself wanting this and that lately, I want to refocus priorities. The last thing I'm focusing on is my negative talk, hormones have my mood in wretched shape and I've been more than a negative Nancy as of late, I'm trying to curtail that inner dialogue stopping it before it comes out, turning around the thought into a prayer or good thought about the person or thing I'm thinking negatively of, the goal is not to think these thoughts but if I can at least refrain from saying them out loud that is a victory.

I have bookmarked some sites to visit to help with prayer and relfection.

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I'm not Catholic but I do find the idea of "giving up something for lent" intriguing.  But I can't really think of much I would be willing to part with - I mean basically, my only luxuries are coffee and sleep, and they are necessary for others' well-being.  😛

I was thinking maybe a variation - purging until it almost hurts.  Though that would actually be enjoyable for me if I can find the time to do it.  The sacrifice part would be giving up putz time in favor of cleaning.  The other spiritual-ish benefits would be the clarity of mind and space, remembering what we have rather than thinking we need to go buy more (this is one of my kids), and blessing others when we donate the still-good excess to folks who can use it.

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1 hour ago, soror said:

Here we go. I uninstalled FB on my phone, as that is the biggest temptation. I have also decided to give up chocolate, which is a big sacrifice for me! Trying to focus on being thankful for all that I do have and the relative luxury I live in compared to the world, I am planning to keep spending to necessities. I am not a big spend thrift but found myself wanting this and that lately, I want to refocus priorities. The last thing I'm focusing on is my negative talk, hormones have my mood in wretched shape and I've been more than a negative Nancy as of late, I'm trying to curtail that inner dialogue stopping it before it comes out, turning around the thought into a prayer or good thought about the person or thing I'm thinking negatively of, the goal is not to think these thoughts but if I can at least refrain from saying them out loud that is a victory.

I have bookmarked some sites to visit to help with prayer and relfection.

Blessed Lent!

Ours doesn't start until Monday.  

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@SKL  - I'm not Catholic either 😉   Perhaps don't think of Lent as a "giving up" but rather paying closer attention.  Our Lenten disciplines are there as tools to help us focus more on "better things".   Abstaining from certain foods helps me to anticipate Pascha and the wonderful celebration that comes with that.  It makes it more meaningful to me.  

If you chose to participate perhaps your wouldn't be abstaining from certain things but rather adding something in... maybe more spiritual readings or meditation and/or prayer?  Maybe offering your time as a volunteer or donating stuff to a shelter?    As PJ said above, as an Orthodox Christian we don't go it alone and have particular prescriptions to help guide us on our Lenten journey.   We're all in the journey together.   But, you don't have to follow ours or the Catholic/Lutheran/Episcopalian way of doing Lent.  

Edited by PrincessMommy
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2 hours ago, SKL said:

I'm not Catholic but I do find the idea of "giving up something for lent" intriguing.  But I can't really think of much I would be willing to part with - I mean basically, my only luxuries are coffee and sleep, and they are necessary for others' well-being.  😛

I was thinking maybe a variation - purging until it almost hurts.  Though that would actually be enjoyable for me if I can find the time to do it.  The sacrifice part would be giving up putz time in favor of cleaning.  The other spiritual-ish benefits would be the clarity of mind and space, remembering what we have rather than thinking we need to go buy more (this is one of my kids), and blessing others when we donate the still-good excess to folks who can use it.

You might like this: https://organisemyhouse.com/40-items-declutter-life-lent/

 

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I'd fast from Facebook but I truly do need and use it, but I can delete more groups. I already unfollowed everyone. 

Need to limit time on here though. 

 

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I don't always give up something or fast.  I usually try to do something to nourish my faith and my relationship with the Lord and this year I'm reading and working through Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 days.  Instead of reading the newspaper at breakfast, I'll be sipping from Michael Card's Luke: the Gospel of Amazement.    I'm taking a news fast as well as limiting my time online, instead of aimless web browsing celebrity sites and youtube vidoes and use that time to concentrate on my writing. 

@fairfarmhand   A litany for Lent is great! Thanks! 

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So, I know this sounds silly, but I am giving up the whipped cream on my coffee. I normally have a few cups a day at home with a big dollop of whipped cream and some sprinkled cinnamon on top. It's my ritual. I'm going to keep the coffee, but give up the whipped cream. I think that will be just hard enough, without making me mean, lol. 

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On 2/22/2020 at 9:39 PM, Patty Joanna said:

Yep.  We are taught that it involves fasting, acts of mercy, and prayer.  The one-liner on that is that fasting without the other two...is just a diet.    :0)

As a person over 60, fasting is not mandatory for me (although abstinence is). 🙂 However, prayer and alms giving are perfectly within my capabilities.

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5 minutes ago, Ellie said:

As a person over 60, fasting is not mandatory for me (although abstinence is). 🙂 However, prayer and alms giving are perfectly within my capabilities.

One offers what one can.  :0)

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