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5 alternative ideas this Lent that will inspire you

Have you given up chocolate, abstained from social media and declined all caffeine? You may be struggling for ideas this Lent. Here are five ideas that will help you experience the profound impact of this season afresh.

1. Negative comments

You may not consider yourself a particularly negative person but you may be surprised by how challenging abstaining from all negative comments can be. It may be hard, but the effects can be overwhelmingly positive. You’ll become a natural encourager whose always choosing to highlight the best parts of a situation.

2. 40 black sacks

If you haven’t been swept away by the KonMari anti-clutter movement this could be a helpful alternative. Each day take a black bin liner and fill it with as many unrequired items as possible. Don’t worry if you only manage one or two things each day, the point is to see the surplus of items in your life and choose to live more simply. At the end of Lent, donate the 40 bags worth of unwanted stuff to a local charity shop.

3. Take up a spiritual discipline

They say it takes around 66 days to form a habit so Lent is the perfect time to begin establishing a new way of life. Why not immerse yourself in Franciscan spirituality, try an Examen, or practice Ignatian prayer? If you don’t have the time to learn something new, commit to a daily prayer walk around your local area.

4. Acts of kindness

Life is busy and although we can have the right intentions we can rush past opportunities to show Christian kindness. 40Acts is a helpful resource to kickstart a personal mission to impact your community. When you sign up you’ll receive a daily email with a generosity challenge and a short Bible-based blog straight to your inbox. Depending on what the day holds, you can pick from one of three challenge levels. Their website also has resources for small groups, youth groups and schools.

5. Donate to your local foodbank or women’s refuge

Take a box and put it somewhere handy in your home. Each day of Lent place one item to donate to your local foodbank or women’s refuge. Consider what you might like to eat be it posh crisps or branded chocolate spread. If you wouldn’t use unbranded tampons or nappies consider gifting a box of two of a premium brand. This is an ideal Lent idea to involve the whole family, even giving children a small budget to buy their own items to donate.

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