I am not a particularly religious person. I grew up in a Methodist church but like many teenagers drifted away from religion as I became busy with school, sports, and friends. When I went to Japan I had no real connection to Christianity since so few people practice in Japan. After my year in Japan I felt even less religious. Japan is a very secular society where religion is so intertwined with culture and history that many people don't think of themselves as religious even if they observe Buddhist/Shinto holidays. However, I've always really liked the idea of Lent.
Lent is a time when Christian believers prepare through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial for the coming of Easter. It lasts for 40 days, from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent).
I don't remember doing much for Lent before high school. I knew when it was Lent but I don't think my church had any special practices during this time. Some of my friends in high school were more religious than I was and would give things up during Lent. I found the concept fascinating and I started joining them, not for religious purposes but as a way to test myself. I wanted to see if I could live for 40 days without chocolate, dessert, meat, etc.
This year as Lent started approaching I began considering what I wanted to give up. I felt bored giving up food since I have a very healthy diet and wanted to challenge myself in a different way. That's how #iamimperfectlyme was born.
I decided that this year I was going to give up negative thoughts about myself. It's easy to say that you will do this, but I wanted a way to track myself and really hold myself accountable. My friend suggested that I get a jar, and every time I have a negative thought write down on a piece of paper why this thought is wrong and put it in the jar. At the end of the 40 days the jar will be filled (or hopefully relatively empty!) with all the reasons why the negative thoughts I have about myself are false. I absolutely loved this idea so I took her suggestion. I also decided to track my progress on both my blog and Instagram.
I'll be writing blog posts throughout Lent discussing what the project is like and any problems I run into. I'll also be using the hashtag #iamimperfectlyme on Instagram to give daily doses of the challenge. I would love if you guys would join me! I don't want anyone to feel like they have to be Christian to do this challenge since that's definitely not why I am doing it. If you are Christian and want to use this as what you give up for Lent, please do! You also don't need to feel pressured to do the whole challenge! If just using the hashtag every once in a while is what you want, then do that! I would love to see everyone's pictures on Instagram using my hashtag and how it applies to your lives! I'm going to start using my jar on Wednesday but I'll start using the hashtag on Instagram probably today!
Do you guys practice Lent? If you do, are you giving anything up?
P.S. the tea of the day is green tea (again) ^_^