Around this time every year, I see my Facebook and Twitter feeds blow up with what everyone is giving up for Lent this year. Every year the “sacrifices” people are making sound familiar to years before – chocolate, icecream, Facebook, pizza, sex. I should preface this post by saying I don’t partake in Lent, even though many of my family members follow the Catholic faith. I’ve had an aversion to religion my entire life so I’m not a big believer in everything that Lent is supposed to stand for.
With that said, I still greatly respect and admire those who do believe and partake in the season. I’m sure that giving up guilty pleasures and vices for 40 days does not come easy (I once tried to give up pasta for a month and failed miserably.) However – after those 40 days are over, everyone will go back to their usual ways. They’ll go out and buy a Hershey bar or they’ll log in and spend the next five days catching up on everything they’ve missed on Facebook. My point is: the sacrifice is temporary.
Which is why I think that in addition to the sacrifices people make every year, they should consider another way to approach the season of Lent. Instead of just taking something away from yourself, consider giving something back this year too. Think about the impact and difference you can make by taking time to volunteer with a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or participate in a neighborhood cleanup. Your actions aren’t just felt by you but by the people and the communities you touch through your acts of service, kindness and selflessness not to mention the impact will be felt much longer than 40 days. Instead of chocolate sales going down, people in need can receive help, streets can be cleaned up and lives can be changed for the better.
To me, that sounds like a much more impactful way to honor the season. I know that Lent is supposed to be centered on the idea of sacrifice – so consider sacrificing some time for others this year. I already have plans to volunteer with an animal rescue group and a soup kitchen in the coming weeks, which I could not be more excited for.
Volunteer opportunities are really easy to find. Check out the websites below to help get you started:
How will you help make a difference this year?