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Saying No to Yourself

rosary on top of opened bible book
Prayer, fasting & almsgiving.

We are just beginning forty days of Lent. How are you doing? Lent can be very educational and daunting at the same time. During Lent we are called to fast, pray and give. Saying no to yourself is something that is counter to the culture we live in. If we could all learn how to do this a little better, we could change the world.

Lent is a time of reflection and preparation for Easter. There are so many resources to help a person get ready: Best Lent Ever from Dynamic Catholic, Bishop Robert Barron, Holy Family School of Faith, Divine Mercy Daily, Ascension, Hallow. (And these are just some of the Catholic ones!) that it can be a little overwhelming.

But this year, I’m doing something different. My husband and I are reading the little booklet that our parish passed out last weekend. I am saying no to another program, another resource. I mean, –I am 60 years old now. How many programs do I need to finally figure this stuff out? I should know by now what to do, right?

Something Different

This year, I am saying yes to changing a bad habit into a good one. I’m saying yes to a more disciplined spiritual life. I intend to pray more, attend Mass more often and be generous. I’m saying no to complaining and gossiping (unless you saw me yesterday, which was one of ‘those’ days because, hey, they happen!).

Saying no to yourself. –What a concept. We are a society that does whatever we want, whenever we want, because we can. It’s the reason heart disease and cancer are the number one and number two causes of death in the US. We don’t have to deny ourselves anything if we don’t want to.

Changing Your Habits

What if there was a way of saying no to yourself for the rest of your life? It’s not just giving up something for forty days and then picking it back up again. What if we did something that changed our lives forever? I’ve been writing this blog for over two years now, and each week, I encourage you to change your habits and live life to the fullest by being someone of greater character and virtue.

Do you give up coffee or chocolate during Lent? Is that enough for you? Is that working at teaching you to become closer to Christ? During Lent, some people give up something during the week only to indulge in it, then, on Sunday, saying, Sundays aren’t included in the forty days. We can’t even go 7 days giving something up! I’m not judging. This was me.

What if during Lent we gave up 20 minutes of our time at the start or end of our day? What if we just sat in silence and prayed for world peace or prayed the rosary (for the people in the Ukraine or that town in Iowa who just got hit by a tornado)? Would that impact your life? You bet it would. Yours, mine and the rest of the world’s.

Saying Yes

I don’t think Jesus is going to care if I eat a bag of jelly beans before Easter. (I heard there is a shortage of jelly beans this year, so I had to buy mine early.) It definitely won’t be good for my health, but He doesn’t necessarily care about that. But what He does care about will be my prayers for world peace, or my kindness to someone at the grocery or in traffic on the highway. He cares about those character traits that make us all better human beings.

Lent is not only just about saying no to ourselves but saying yes to Jesus and getting ourselves ready for His coming, because believe it or not, friends, He is coming. Are you prepared? There is still time.

There is freedom in saying no. Here is a great video from my favorite author, Matthew Kelly, on Denying Yourself. It’s part of his Difficult Teachings in his Best Lent Ever series, if you really need a resource.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Be sure to sign up on the page and get it delivered right to your inbox. This isn’t one more ‘program’. It’s a way of life. Let’s live it to the fullest.

God bless.–Barb


Wife, mother, church secretary, seamstress, child of God.

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