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Our writers invite you along on their journeys through Lent. Follow the play-by-play of their personal spiritual practices and share your own.

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March 3rd, 2014

JILL — Introduction: Lenten Gratitude

Lenten Gratitude: 5x40

 
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“Gratitude-Pg-4” image by marynbtol licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 2.0” http://www.flickr.com/photos/marynbtol/

“Gratitude-Pg-4” image by marynbtol licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 2.0” http://www.flickr.com/photos/marynbtol/

I always struggle to find a Lenten offering. Sometimes I give up food/drink — adult beverages, chocolate, cheese, meat, sweets, and more. Sometimes I add something to my daily routine: exercise, volunteering with a charity, daily mass, etc.

These are all great things, however, I’m changing up my usual offering for something a little more reflective. As a woman of faith, I often forget the grace that prevails in the day-to-day. Instead, I fixate on the annoying things: The mean-spirited quip someone made about me behind my back (that, of course, I totally found out about), the dirty rainwater from the street that a cab has splashed all over me as I’m at an intersection, the guy that has stopped texting or calling me for absolutely no reason, having to schlep multiple many blocks … in heels … with groceries (because I’m out of milk and I had to work late), not being included when the team goes out to lunch and so much more.

Whenever these sorts of things happen, I’ll usually vent about it to a friend, eat my feelings (aka chocolate) and end my day exhausted, annoyed, or beaten down by the world.

I plan to use the next 40 days to live in the moment and to mindfully remember all of the blessings I’ve been given every day. This Lent, I will write about five things I’m grateful for on a daily basis. My goal in doing this is to remember to always be thankful for all that God has gifted to me — the good and the challenging. I plan to fast from the worrying and to remember that God is good and always has my best interests at heart. Perhaps some sort of arc will emerge that’ll help me figure out what God has in store for me. Worst case, I’ll have more than 200 reminders of the little things in life that make living so awesome. Not a bad place to end.

Some days the output of this exercise will be a simple list that simply enumerates my daily points of joy. Other days, it’ll be more long form with a poignant story to share or insight that I’ve gleaned.

Mind you — I’m no philosopher and about as human as it gets, so, I’m sure it’ll be more of the former than the latter. But, I guess we’ll see what God has in store!

We’ve all been given so much … too much when you think about it, actually. But, how often do we take the time to look at the big picture — to really see it, to internalize it, and to be lifted up by God’s ever abundant love for us, in that he’s taken care of everything … even the little things?

Not it! And, I’m excited to change that this Lent.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Happy Mardi Gras. More to come!

 
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The Author : Jill Olickan
A proud Texas native, Jill is a marketing director living in New York City. When you can’t find her working, traveling to fabulous places, singing or running in Central Park, you’ll find her spending time with friends and at events that help her grow in her Catholic faith. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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  • CatholicKath

    If you need inspiration Ann Voskamp of One Thousand Gifts on facebook is inspirational in the area of gratitude

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