There are an endless number of things to do for Lent. How do you choose?
And once you choose, how do you do Lent… well? Sterling breaks down what the word mindset means and how you can create an intentional mindset about Lent.
RESOURCES MENTIONED ON THE SHOW
TRANSCRIPT OF THE SHOW
Hello my friends. I am your host today, Sterling Jaquith, and today I wanna talk about having a Lenten mindset. And to start off, I wanna talk about what a mindset is. I think I probably heard that word many, many times and not really understanding what it meant. I think I had heard of a growth mindset or a positive mindset, but nobody really explained to me what it was. But then when I really understood what a mindset was, it became so much of how I think about my thinking now. So I wanna describe a mindset as like glasses that you look through. And I’ve explained this on many episodes before, that we can wear glasses that then change the way we see something. And so at a simple level, someone with a positive mindset is wearing glasses, and they just put that kind of happy gratitude, half glass, full spin on things.
So somebody with a positive mindset will experience getting a flat tire and they will think, oh, I’m, I’m so glad that I’m safe right now, or that I have someone to call, or I know how to change a tire, right? Like they will think about the positive things about that situation. And somebody with a negative mindset might be like, this always happens to me now I’m gonna be late to this thing. Everything’s terrible. So the event is neutral, but then depending on the glasses that you’re looking through will determine your experience of the event. So that is a mindset, right? It’s the glasses that you’re looking through and we have all sorts of different kinds of glasses and that determines how you experience your life. Now, what I think is tricky about it is the glasses that we’ve worn for a very long time, or the ones where we don’t even know that other people don’t wear those glasses are the hardest to discover because you just think, oh yeah, doesn’t everyone see the world this way?
And so the work that we do at Made For Greatness is really helping women to just notice what kind of glasses that they’re looking through. So on a call today, we were discussing taking care of our bodies and you know, getting dressed, putting on makeup, doing your hair, jewelry, accessories. And we were just exploring, you know, what it means to take care of yourself, to get dressed with intentionality. And obviously there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Maybe there’s some level of dressing that would be morally inappropriate, but it’s not inappropriate to have five purses or one purse to be a woman that wears jewelry or doesn’t wear jewelry.
So we were talking about the mindset with which the glasses with which you’re wearing. When you are getting dressed, are you lovingly putting your clothes on? Do you choose to get ready? And really think about what your body wants for that day, the comfort level, the intentionality, how you feel when you dress one way versus a different way, what you say to yourself when you’re looking in the mirror, because all of us are wearing some sort of glasses when we get ready and when we think about how we dress and how we look, and those glasses are optional.
For example, totally different examples. I feel great about getting older. I have always had a very positive set of glasses about getting older. I’m wiser. My life continues to get better. I have not had an attachment to being young because most of the things I wanted to do when I was young, you had to be older to do them. And so from early on, I just wanted to be older. And I just kind of continue that. And I see people ahead of me 10, 20 years older and like, oh, that, that decade’s gonna be great too. That’s just totally a choice that I’ve made. So a mindset has to do with the glasses that you’re wearing, the filter you’re using to make sense of the world around you. Okay? So if you were bitten as a child by a dog, okay, you would be looking through glasses that tell you dogs are dangerous. And when you see a dog on the street, you would tense up. You might even cross the street because you have dogs or a dangerous mindset.
Whereas I had kind of a lonely childhood and I found a lot of solace in dogs where I may not have found the attachment that I was wanting in my parents. I found that in dogs. So I have, it just swung the other way where I’m like, ugh, I get great comfort from dogs. So when I see a dog, I’m looking through glasses that go, ugh, that’s going to make me feel good. I’m gonna go pet that dog. It makes me calm down and feel good when I pet dogs. So I hope, hope that explains just a little bit about what a mindset is. Now let’s talk about having a Lenten mindset, because you get to decide what kind of glasses you want to wear as you head into this Lenten season. I was sharing with the women that
In masters we have a whole minimalism course, but then we have kind of a subset of that course is a Lenten minimalism challenge, a 40 day Lenten minimalism challenge. And I said, you know, some of you really should probably do that. And I said, A lot of you probably have picked out a spiritual book to read for Lent, cuz that sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? It sounds so lovely to go, oh, I should really deepen my prayer life and so I’m gonna get this spiritual book and I’m gonna read it and I’m gonna grow closer to God. And there is nothing wrong with that if that is what God is calling you to do. But I said, if you are living in a house full of clutter and stress, imagine pushing all of like walking in your house, piles of things, can’t close your closet, can’t find things, and you look at all of that and you’re like, Hey I can’t deal with that right now because I bought this spiritual book and I need to grow closer to the Lord, right? Lent to me, because this is my Lenten mindset, is about detaching myself from something that I am too attached to. It is purposeful for me to walk in the desert to loosen my grip on something of the world.
Now, if your prayer life is non-existent, maybe that’s exactly what you need to do is to get a spiritual book and follow it along. But first you need to decide what your goal is for Lent. And I think there can be many, and the church tells us three, right? Prayer alms, Thanksgiving. Am I getting that right? I think so. And so within the many, many, so many options for Lent, what kind of glasses are you going to be wearing? Oh, prayer, fasting and alms giving. That’s what it is.
What are the feelings that you want to experience? Because I think we have this idea that we’re like, I have been naughty and I’m going to then do something strict for Lent and then I’m gonna offer up that suffering. A lot of us have a very scrupulous view of Lent, not everyone, but I want you to just be curious right now and ask yourself, what is the purpose of Lent for me? What is my goal? Because I think a lot of times, and this is me, for me as a Catholic convert, nobody taught me how to lent. Well, I was just kind of thrown into it. There’s lots of resources, prayer, fasting, alms giving, and that’s about it . And to me it really has always felt like a great spiritual event. Like it’s about praying. And I certainly think praying is very important, but for me, I have decided, lent is usually a time where I look at my life and I see where am I living in a disordered way? Where am I too dependent on something in the world?
Where do I need to detach? And then as I detach, my goal is to attach to the Lord. And that’s why I think a lot of people choose to do some sort of food practice as well where they say, you know what? I’m gonna eat less chocolate. I’m going to skip dinner, I’m going to whatever they’re doing that’s food-based. Give up sugar or coffee to be less attached to that thing of the world. And then use that time and that suffering to feel more attached to Christ. So what mindset are you going to bring to Lent? How are we gonna do Lent intentionally? What kind of glasses are you gonna be wearing? Is your goal suffering?
I think that’s an interesting question. I actually think a lot of people go into Lent with the goal of suffering. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but I want all of us to just really see what our goal is and then to look and say, you know, has the practice we’ve chosen, does that align with the goal that I have? And obviously, I hope this is obvious. I want you to prayerfully consider this. I want you to spend some time with the Lord and say, Lord, what do you want me to do? It’s a scary question. Ask my friends. It is a very scary question to ask the Lord. Lord, what am I too attached to that you would like me to detach from? But I will tell you the answer from the Lord is always comforting. There’s a deep knowing, yes Lord, yes, that is what I should do. But then when you do lent that way, having prayed about it and really discern something from the Lord, it is much easier to carry it out. And then of course the purpose is not suffering, it is detachment. It’s growing in holiness, it’s growing in virtue.
And those things may involve the discomfort of growth. They may involve the feeling of grief. Sometimes it brings up shame when we realize how very attached we were to the thing. We do not create new resources every Lent as a company. And we do that very intentionally because there are so many what we desire at Made for Greatness is to teach you how to live your life intentionally. And that includes intentionally experiencing Lent, really saying, what is my goal here? What are the emotions that I want to feel? So some that came to my mind for feelings included loosening, like loosening your grip on something, detaching I can feel when something has a hold on me. And then, you know, I go through like a detox or a 30 day, you know, no screen time challenge or something like that. And I feel this detaching, maybe the feeling of growth.
And in our Holy Spirit class, you know, we really teach that all growth comes from the Holy Spirit. So having that feeling doesn’t have to be a prideful experience. Like, oh, I’m so amazing, look how far I’ve come. But rather, you know, praise be to God that he has allowed me to grow, that he has worked through me to grow. I love this word refinement, really. I love picturing how we’re kind of rough and we need to be smoothed out before we go to heaven. And of course the very last phase of that is purgatory refinement.
But I, I thought it was interesting for me that my, one of the feelings that I wanted to feel on purpose and Lent did not include suffering, detachment and refinement. They might be uncomfortable, but both of those words to me feel like they have a purpose and suffering when we unite the suffering to Jesus’s suffering on the cross. And we offer it up. God has a purpose too, but what would we call that? Yeah, the feeling of offering. I think. I don’t even think we would call that straight suffering because it’s, it’s suffering. But then when we do something with it, it feels purposeful.
I also want you to visualize what a successful Lent would look like for you. How would you feel getting to Easter if you had the kind of lent that you wanted and really practiced living through that. So let’s say you chose to do the no spending lent. It’s like a lenten challenge where you don’t spend any money that isn’t necessary to spend. How would you feel if you got to Easter and you just nailed that challenge and it was difficult and there were hard days, but you did it. How would you feel at the end of it? What were you, what would your prayer life look like on that day? I love imagining that when I achieve my goals, I love imagining myself on my knees giving praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.
So there’s a lot of noise out there about Lent and some absolutely beautiful things. I have read so many beautiful spiritual books lent in books challenges. Just choose one prayerfully with the Lord, decide ahead of time how you want to feel while you are doing it, and then really imagine how you will feel at the end having done the work that you set out to do. This is choosing what kind of glasses you want to put on. Because if you decide that detachment is your goal, and I think it’s twofold, right? It’s detaching from, let’s just use sugar as an example, detaching from sugar and attaching yourself to the Lord, really looking to the Lord to soothe you.
And so you know that you’re gonna feel this feeling of deprivation and detachment and then you want to feel the feeling of soothing from the Lord or resting in the Lord. Then when you come up to that moment, at the end of the day when you’re tired and, and normally you would’ve grabbed a cookie or something, you can just remind yourself, oh this, this feeling that I’m having right now, this yucky feeling. This is what it feels like to be in the process of detachment. And you can remind yourself that you wanted to feel that way and that you also wanted to feel comforted by the Lord. So then it would, it would turn your mind to do something else.
So you would be wearing detachment glasses and you would just view the whole experience a different way. So what kind of lenten mindset do you want to have? Really do think about the end. I think so many of us, we think about the tool that we’re gonna use and we think I’m gonna choose suffering. And we pick a tool and we think about day one. But I want to invite you to think about the transformation that you want to have. And that while Lent does involve discomfort, the discomfort that we choose is very different than the one that surprises us. And I think sometimes going through Lent is extra difficult because the discomfort does surprise us. , we just didn’t, didn’t think it through very much. We didn’t think through what it would look like to give up coffee. We didn’t think about how we spend money on people’s birthdays. So for everybody’s birthday that falls in the no spend Lenten time, you know, what is the decision that we’re gonna make about that?
I think Lent is such a beautiful time. It is just one of my favorite things we do as Catholics. And I think about it like pruning and detachment, and I know it will be uncomfortable, but I willingly walk into that desert and I imagine how strong I will feel in my faith when I walk out. Those are the kind of lent and glasses that I’m wearing. So if you want to come do the 40 Day Minimalism Challenge or any of the other things that we have in Masters, we made a Lenten page and just said, Hey, here’s all our programs and here’s the ones we think that would be really a good fit for Lent. You can come and do that with us. We’re still working through our sacred self-image quarterly theme. And in March that will be about our homes and creating a sacred self-image in our home, which I think maps really well to minimalism.
But more than all of that, the very first thing that we teach you is this, is to just know that you wear glasses and they’re optional and you can swap them out. And your experience of your life can be significantly different based on the glasses that you’re wearing, even if your husband is the same and your house is the same and your bank account the same and the scale is the same and the kids are the same. You can experience a very different version of that depending on the kind of glasses that you look through, depending on your mindset.
And that is what we teach in Masters. And I wanna invite you to join if you haven’t, because you can learn it in one day and it will change the whole rest of your life. And I wish somebody had taught me those things sooner. I would have enjoyed my home and my family life and my children so much more had I learned that sooner. So I’m praying for all of you in this lenten season that you detach from something of the world and detach yourself to Christ a little bit more, that you go through a refinement that makes you more ready for sainthood, for heaven. And I just wanna celebrate all of us for choosing to be Catholic in a world that does not like Catholics, and choosing to go through the season of Lent willingly and intentionally for the glory of God. It’s pretty incredible that we do that, you guys. And remember, the world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were Made for Greatness.