Ten years ago, when I heard this word, I thought instantly of the kids in my class who would give up soda or candy for 40 days, hoping in some way it would draw them closer to God.
Five years ago, I went through RCIA with the Catholic church and learned that the idea of Lent was to better yourself in some way. To do something, or sacrifice something, that renewed your relationship with God. That even a small sacrifice in our modern, instant-gratification world can be a powerful reminder of how very blessed we are.
And, while the Catholic Church and I don't always agree, and definitely don't see eye to eye on many issues, I kinda got where they were coming from. Still, I don't think that soda or candy is going to impact me (personally) in a big enough way to really matter. Those things are material, and the material is not all that important, in the great scheme of things. So, instead, I chose to do something extra.
In years past, I have always linked my Lenten 'resolution' with my New Year's Resolution. In 2009, when I was practicing "Be Nice", I spent Lent focusing on going out of my way to be nice - rather than simply keeping my mouth shut when I wanted to gripe, I would speak up to say something nice, instead.
This year, my New Year's resolution was simply to Be Healthier. And with that in mind, my Lenten resolution is to work on my spiritual health. To try to renew that relationship I have with my God. To trust. To try to open up to the experiences and opportunities that crop up. To spend time each day, simply being quiet. To learn, and love, and trust.