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Willpower, self-discipline key to success during Lent

Staff Reporter

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 00:02

Morgan Mears | The Houstonian

Morgan Mears | The Houstonian

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, and carrying on until the Saturday before Easter, Lent is a period spanning 40 days, not including Sundays, during which many Christians devote their time to fasting, abstinence and penitence. The purpose of setting aside time during Lent is to reflect on Christ’s suffering, life, death, burial and his resurrection.

While some believe that only Roman Catholics practice Lent, or "give something up" during the Lenten season, it is also observed by those of Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations.

In order to stay strong, and refrain from picking up what you gave up or what you are trying to stay away from during the Lenten season, one must have a lot of willpower.

When trying to figure out what to give up during the Lenten season, some people give up small things that are easy to live without. While that is fine to some, others feel that you should give up something that you find challenging to live without in order to experience the full effect of sacrificing something that brings you pleasure to grow closer to God.

Being a Christian of the Methodist denomination, personally, I do partake in Lent. In the past, I did not ever really grasp the true meaning of Lent and I gave up things like chocolate and coffee, simply because I knew that you were supposed to "give something up." It wasn’t until this year that I started to fully understand why people give up something that they love during Lent.

Lent is meant to be a reflection period and people deprive themselves of some small pleasure or indulgence that has derailed them from their path to God. By giving something up, Christians hope to take the time that is normally focused on these indulgences and focus it on returning their lives to the path that God wants us to be on.

This Lenten season, I have given up my books that I read during my free time in the hopes that I will read my Bible more. Being an English major, this is going to be a hard task; I have vowed to only read what is assigned to me for homework. Instead of going and picking up the latest book at Hastings, I would pick up my Bible and in turn my knowledge of the Bible will grow, just as my relationship with Christ will.

Although refraining from reading all books, but the Bible, will be hard, I understand that I have to have the willpower to abstain from what I have given up in order to further my relationship with God.

Willpower and self-discipline are keys to being successful during the Lenten season. As described by Alison Griswold on, "Lent is a spiritual boot camp, a chance to grow in self-discipline, so that in denying ourselves in small ways we are practiced in saying no to ourselves when the destructive temptations show up."

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