We are in Lent – a season of renewal, a season of “leaning in,” a season of surrendering more and more. Lent is a sacred and beautiful season.
What I’d like to propose is that Lent is a great time to focus on “living intentionally” – essentially “living on purpose.”
It’s living every day according to your identity in God and your vocation. We can live intentionally when we discover who we are, where we are headed, and how we are meant to get there. We are all sons and daughters of God, and we are all meant to strive towards eternal life in heaven, but how we get there is different for each person.
We are all called to be formed in Christ, and Lent is the perfect time for this formation. It’s a time when we can sit back, removing certain worldly goods from our lives, and really focus on how God wants us to live. When we do this, we are living intentionally, surrendering everything to God and asking him, “Lord, what are you calling me to do today?”
And this doesn’t mean that we have to remove all spontaneity from our lives and have a daily “check-list of prayer” that we have to get through. It simply means that we are living with the knowledge of who we are, where we are going, and how we will get there.
Here are 3 ways we can live more intentionally this Lent.
3 Ways To Be Intentional This Lent
1) Be Intentional with Online Shopping. There’s nothing wrong with buying things that we need, but if we’re browsing online shopping sites for hours simply because we are bored, or have nothing better to do with our time, is that consistent with our identity as beloved children of God? Is that helping us to live intentionally and be formed as disciples of the Lord? During Lent we are called to be renewed in “almsgiving,” which means we are called to give extra charity to the poor. So if we find ourselves turning to online shopping without intention – simply because we are bored – let’s turn instead with intention to the needs of the poor. I’d like to suggest that we schedule our online shopping for a specific time, and maybe even write down a list before we start browsing. In that way we can buy what we truly need, and save the rest of our money and time to be given to those who need our help.
2) Be Intentional with Social Media Time. How long do you want to spend on social media each day? Name your goal, and then stick to the limits you set. Use the screen-time feature on your device to hold yourself accountable. Too often when we just surf the web aimlessly, we can end up in temptations of impurity or envy. By being intentional in our use of social media and screen time, we can make sure that we are living in alignment with our mission to use our day well as a disciple of Christ.
3) Be Intentional with Daily Prayer. Decide when you want to pray each day, and then protect that time and stick to it. Even if it’s just committing yourself to 5 minutes of quiet time with the Lord, create a healthy routine of listening to God and asking him to guide your day. Lent is a sacred time and a sacred season – commit to your prayer and be faithful to it. For you and I to become who we’re made to be, we have to have this time of prayer. In prayer, we receive who we are, the formation we need to allow the transformation to happen in our relationship with God.
These practices will help us during Lent and beyond as we seek to be formed as beloved children of the Father, pilgrims on this earth, pilgrims on the journey of formation and transformation.
Things fall in order when you’re living in order. Doing simple things consistently provides a solid foundation on which grace can overflow. The CFR community’s motto is ‘poco a poco,’ or ‘little by little.’ By opening our hearts to others, making time for prayer, and serving others, we can be transformed.
Lent is the perfect time to reform our souls and get closer to God. Let’s ask him to help us to be intentional this Lent, so that we may live our life for the glory of Heaven.
Read more from Fr. Mark-Mary Ames in his new book, Habits for Holiness!