Julie Hall, Youth Speak News

Beyond your resolutions

By  Julie Hall, Youth Speak News
  • February 12, 2016

Lent is a season which seems to always start strong in our hearts, and then gradually falls apart throughout our time of suffering alongside Jesus. We are now starting our journey. We already binged on pancakes a few days ago and a good few of us decided to give up either candy, chocolate, television or cellphones. (I’ll pray for you guys, don’t worry.)

Similar to New Year’s resolutions, our Lenten promises have the tendency to alter themselves throughout these 40 days. Chances are, you have already slipped up once or twice. This has probably made you consider changing your Lenten promises or maybe even giving up on them already.

We will stumble, we will contemplate giving up and we will have moments of failure. But the thing differentiating Lent from New Year’s is Jesus. When we decide to get fit over the new year, we decide it purely for worldly reasons. When we decide to distance ourselves from something over these 40 days, we are doing it to grow closer to Christ and His Church. This intention, which should be the basis of all of our Lenten promises, is what should encourage us all to never give up on this season.

If people are finding themselves struggling with a Lenten commitment, I want to encourage everyone to continue on. Stand back up and carry your cross. Do not give up on yourself or on God.

For many years, I saw Lent as an optional commitment. I would give up chocolate every single year and I would only last about a week or so before someone waved one too many cookies in front of my face. When I started to get involved in youth ministry, I learned more about our Church and the wonderful (yet tedious, and sometimes painful) season that is Lent.

I suppose my idea of Lent is simply commitment to something which you feel will personally bring you closer to Christ. Maybe you are the type of person who needs to give something up which is getting in the way of that spiritual relationship. Maybe you are the type of person who wants to share the love of Christ by serving those around you. Maybe you are the type of person who wants to focus primarily on improving prayerfulness in their life. Or maybe, you are just the ultimate Catholic who wants to combine all three for this season.

Lent is a season for everyone. Highlight 2 Timothy 1:7 in your Bible and read it every morning: “For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Keep it written on a piece of paper which you have with you at all times.

If you don’t already have a friend you can rely on to hold you accountable to your commitments then I also suggest asking one. It will also serve to strengthen your relationship.

I believe in you, and so does God our Father. With Him, all things are possible.

(Hall, 17, is a candidate for first year philosophy at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont.)

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