Lent, a 40-day spiritual season for Christians around the world, begins on Wednesday 14 February. It is a time to fast, reorder our lives and take stock of our relationship with God. If you are planning on fasting this Lent, here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Learn the art of fasting
Whether you are a newbie to fasting or a master faster, there are plenty of resources to help you learn or improve. Moderator of the Uniting Church Western Australia, Rev Steve Francis recommends a book by Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. According to Steve, the book is a classic, brimming with wisdom on the spiritual art of fasting.
2. Fast and raise funds for UnitingWorld
Give up something you would normally spend on items – such as your morning coffee – and raise funds for UnitingWorld, the international partnerships agency of the Uniting Church in Australia. Your donations will be directed to UnitingWorld’s life-changing projects helping to alleviate climate change, poverty or fight for women’s equality. Sign up on their website: lentevent.com to receive a Lent Event brochure, a sticker to wrap around a recycled jar to collect your savings and instructions on how to send in your donations.
3. Track your fasts
If you are thinking of traditional food fasting and need a guide to keep you on track, check out Zero, a forever free fasting app that allows you to track and customise your fasting plans. Zero comes with a few fasting programs to choose from. The app allows you to customise your plans, allowing you to define your daily fasting hours and days per week.
4. Fast from the media
What are your favourite social media sites or TV shows? Identify a few and sacrifice your interaction with any sort of media during Lent. For example, you can abstain from online shopping, Netflix, Facebook, news websites, Candy Crush or any type of media technology you spend large amounts of time and money on.
5. Fast from criticism and complaining
For the 40 days of Lent, challenge yourself to only speak kind words or use positive words. Before you complain or notice you’re on the verge of losing your cool, ask yourself if what you are going to say is nice, necessary or negative. This includes gossiping.
6. Get in touch
Keeping in touch is challenging when you are busy juggling life. Why not use this Lent season to re-connect to 40 different people in your life? It can be a handwritten card, a LinkedIn message to a former colleague or a phone call to someone you have been meaning to contact but haven’t.
7. Dine in for 40 days
Commit yourself to dining in for 40 days. If you are a foodie that loves a gourmet feast, this may be a good one to give up during Lent. This ban includes visiting the local deli for lunch. No one said fasting was easy!