Every year I give up something for Lent. I’m not Catholic, but I’ve found great value in the practice of cutting something out of my life or adding something into it for 40 days. Lent started on Febulary 10th, but I was on a plane home from Hawaii that day, and with the launch of Beating 50 Percent, and filming for Little People Big World, I’ve just now got around to writing this post! Please forgive my tardiness.
I’ve been practicing Lent since I was a freshman in high school. My best friend Ellen’s family practiced it, and that’s when I first found out what it even was. Since then, each year my best friend and I come together and observe the season of lent. We have often done similar things, and it’s great to know that she is holding me accountable, and I her.
If you don’t know what Lent is, Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday. This year Lent began on Wednesday February 10th, and will end on Thursday March 24. (sorry I initially had last year’s dates in here cause I copied this part from last years post, forgive me)
Over the years I’ve given up chocolate, eating after 9 p.m., social media, my hair curler/straightener, make-up, and buying clothes.
When I was in college, I decided to add something in place of the thing given up. The first time I did this I was a junior in college. I gave of make-up, and in addition added what I called, “prayer and praise.” Basically, I wrote one thank you note each day to someone that had impacted my life for better, and I committed to praying for that person throughout that day. It blessed me to speak words of encouragement and thanksgiving to my loved ones.
During my senior year in college, I took it one step further. I didn’t give anything up, but I added soemthing that I did everyday. I called it, “Lent Letter’s.” The idea was to send someone a prayer letter (yes a physical letter) every day for 40 days. Some of you may remember this, or maybe I even wrote you a letter because I posted to my IG stating that the first 40 people to e-mail me their mailing address would receive a prayer letter at some point during Lent! I was in shock as I read some of the addresses, Canada, New York, Alaska, Brazil… I listed out the first 40 names and addresses, and each day I would sit in silence waiting on the Lord to guide me in prayer for my friends, and the people I had never even met!
You can read about what gave up for lent in former years here:
Over the past year, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the impossible expectations on women to beautify themselves, the obsession with outward appearance, and the wonders that social media has done for our self-esteem.
I’ve noticed it with my own Instagram account, and it has deeply saddened me. There have been times where I have posted a deep thought or perspective, an announcement, some really hard news, or a heart felt story to my Instagram, and people have commented:
“Where did you get your shirt?”
“What color lipstick are you wearing?!”
“I love your eye-make up!”
Don’t get me wrong, I am flattered, but on a deeper level, I am saddened.
I wonder, “Did they even hear what I was saying in my caption, or did they just totally disregard my words and only care about the physical appearance of my photo….”
My response: This year I am giving up make-up for Lent.
Yes, this is the second time I have given up make-up for Lent. So why am I doing it again? Because you just never seem to accept yourself “as-is.” Our culture encourages us to fall for the lies, and neglect the truths about ourselves. Learning to love yourself, and see yourself as Christ sees you, is a constant battle for pretty much every woman on the planet. And if you are the exception to that, well than bless your heart and teach us your ways!
When I asked God what I need to let go of for Lent this year, the answer was clear…. but I was resistant. I fought myself internally thinking, “….but it’s going to be so much harder now… in college it was cool to not wear make up because no one got ready for class… I woke up 10 min before class, and I pretty much lived in my running clothes cause I was either going to, or coming from, practice. Plus social media was not nearly the beast it is now…”
The stubbornness of my heart indicated that it was exactly what I needed to give up.
It will be hard… for me. I actually do love make-up. Doing my make-up is like an art for me, and I really enjoy it, so I will miss it….
Until March 24th, you are going to see freckle face, bare-eyed Auj.
Of course if I get a gargantuan zit on my forehead I am going to put a blot of cover-up on it, and I will also be wearing make-up on the days that we have to film interviews for TV. I say this so you don’t come after me when you see mascara in my snapchat here and there. But on the whole, the goal is to embrace how God created me, to spend less time and money on the superficial, and to encourage others to join me!
Maybe you’ve never given up something for Lent before, or maybe you forgot this year. It’s not too late! There are still 30 days left of Lent, and you know what they say… it takes 30 days to form a new habit. So to all my ladies out there, (which I am assuming is everyone who reads this besides my father, grandpa, and husband) let’s team up and form the habit of loving ourselves!
Be you, “as-is.”