Our hearts long for Lent. We long for the transformation that we know we are capable of. Christ calls us to come closer to His heart during this season. 

In this episode, Lorissa shares some beautiful ways we can walk with Christ in the desert both as a family and on our own. 

And when we have chosen the ways we’re going to draw near to the Lord, whether that’s giving something up or adding a spiritual practice, Lorissa shares how our brains will likely throw a toddler tantrum trying to get us to give up. Find out what you can do to combat this voice!

 

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Hello, my friends, and welcome to episode 16 of Made For Greatness. I am your host today, Lorissa Horn and we are about to jump into all things lent. So let’s do this. First of all, Pope Francis has, is a beautiful quote. I love it. Where he says, “Lent, comes to reawaken us.” Ah, that is so beautiful. Lent comes to reawaken us. Lent comes to shake us up to reorient us and point us in the direction of Christ to kind of turn us away from the things of this world and to help us put our focus back on the things of God. This is such a beautiful time. And I think all of us, I’m sure every one of us that’s listening to this podcast right now, longs for lent, in some ways, even the link can be hard and it’s challenging. It’s kind of all about the desert and its prayer and sacrifice almsgiving and fasting all of those things.

Every single one of us in the very depth of our being knows how much our souls, truly long for this extraordinarily beautiful liturgical season that we want our hearts. We want our minds. We want our souls to be re awakened. We want to be kind of shaken out of our day to day routine. And we want to be intentional when it comes to drawing closer to Christ. And so my friends, this is what lent is about, and I’m going to share some ideas. You know, I’ll share a couple of things that my family and I are doing this year. We’ve, you know, we tend to kind of when it comes to lent have kind of the same things that we do every single year. And I would imagine that probably a lot of families are like that. I do think that when it comes to advent my family in particular, like we have some really special traditions that we’ve started to take up over the last few years.

And, and I was kind of thinking about this whole notion of Lent coming to reawaken us. And I, I kind of want to take a new approach to Lent this year in the sense of really maybe trying some new things and talking to other people about how they make Lent more meaningful in their lives. And so earlier today I reached out to our master’s members in our group and I asked some of the women to share about some of their Lenten traditions and, and a couple of those women. I’m gonna share three in particular that I love, I love their ideas and wanting to share those on this podcast today. But one of the things this year in particular that my family and I are doing is the consecration to St. Joseph. And this is the year of St. Joseph, which is so cool.

I’ve always had a devotion to him, especially. I remember praying a lot to St. Joseph when I was single and I prayed for my future spouse and I was always asking for his intercession and he came through for me in a really big way. And I’ve always been so grateful for that, but I am so excited to jump into this consecration and really go deeper into my relationship with him as as a spiritual father and, you know, to, to think of the ways in which he was the protector of Jesus and Mary and how in a very special way, he’s a protector as well of our, of us and of our families. And so we are doing the consecration of St. Joseph. It’s a book by father Donald Callaway. I know probably a lot of you have heard of it, or maybe you’ve done it, or you’re doing it right now.

And we’re so far, we’re like into day two day two of this, we’re getting ready to come up on his feast day on March 19th. And I can’t wait to journey through this experience during lent and grow closer to him. So that’s one of the things we’re reading every single night as a family, each a daily reflection and doing the prayers and already in these, in these first few nights has been really powerful. So of course we have other traditions, you know, the, the typical everybody gives something up and we have our, you know, we participate in stations of the cross on Fridays during lent, you know, giving up meat and doing the parish fish fries. Although I think for many of us, those are kind of on hold right now. But just really taking the time to, to pull ourselves away from the world, turning off the TV and the noise, spending more time together as a family, eating dinner and meals together, being more intentional about just connecting and trying to, again, turn off the noise, get away from social media and a lot of the distractions that just keep bombarding us in our lives.

I think that’s probably one of the reasons I love Lent so much is this opportunity to kind of detach a little bit and yet I am eager to try some new things and to start some new traditions. So some of these, some of these other ideas are really beautiful. I can’t wait to share them with you. So the first one is from Laurie. She is in our masters group and Laurie has, she had this great recommendation a Lenten calendar it’s really for kids. It’s you can go online to Catholic All Year. It’s an amazing Catholic all year.com and download their Lenten bundle is $8. And I I’ve never done this before, but I just went and checked it out. It looks like the coolest thing to do. Especially if you have smaller children, you get to, you know, you get this bundle, you download it, you, you print off these little daily gosh, like little things that you can hang up on your walls.

And then each day you pull them off and little activities for the kids and stuff like that. It looks amazing. So I cannot wait to do that. One of the other things that Laurie mentioned is that for their family, they, on Holy Thursday, they do a special Seder meal, which is, you know, like a Passover meal. And I’ve done this before. I’ve done this with, with our own family and with our youth groups over the years, but it’s so powerful to do kind of like that Passover meal and break that down. There’s so many great resources on how to do that. You can simplify it and you kind of go through, you know, the Exodus story and you read about that, and then you tie it into the passion of Christ. And it’s a really beautiful tradition. The other thing that she said that her and her family does on Holy Thursday is that they wash each other’s feet.

And I just love that. I, that is something that I’m tucking away. I want to do that with my family this year. And I can only imagine how beautiful that tradition is. I know of other families who have done that. I think it’s really beautiful, really powerful. So those are a couple ideas. I, I think she also mentioned that Holy Heroes has a really cool CD for stations of the cross for children. So super cool stuff. One of our members, Amy talked about this ring chain, you know, I think I get the impression it’s kind of like those those chains that you make it Christmas, but it’s the Lenten one, like 40 little ring chains that on each one, there’s a little thing that you can do each day of Lent. And so you make this rain chain and then pull off one of the rings and each day the children do that activity.

I’m sure there’s resources online for Lent for those types of things. But I love that the other thing she recommends or the thing that she does with her children, I imagine her smaller children is that they have a picture of a lamb and each day the children put a little they glue a cotton ball to the lamb, so that on Easter Sunday that lamb is, you know, all fluffy and white and super cute. And I think what a beautiful way to tie in, you know, the lamb of God and to, you know, to Jesus and, and make those correlations, even with our children at a young age, I love that idea. And I’m sure there’s ways you can, you know, incorporate maybe doing every night when you do your prayers to do that, and then stick a cotton ball on. So awesome.

One of our members Daria recommended a book called The Sacred Passion of Jesus Christ short meditations for every day and lent. Now I just went and looked it up on Amazon and purchase it. It was $5 and 95 cents. The author is Richard F. Clark. And it looks like an amazing book. Obviously I haven’t read it yet. So I can’t like totally, you know, tell you exactly what I think of it, but it looks like an amazing book. And I know Daria had mentioned that it really like after reading it, it really gave her a whole new perspective on the passion of Christ and helped her enter into that. And I am looking forward to that. It’s going to arrive in two days and I cannot wait to incorporate that into my Lenten prayer experience this year, and really journey through his passion and draw closer to him through that.

So, so cool Daria also had this idea that she shared, which was to that her and her family, they make a list of people and intentions to pray for over the like each day over the 40 days. And I was just thinking about that, how cool of an idea that is at the beginning of lent to maybe sit down and write down 40 intentions and then taking one each day or praying for specific people each day and how beautiful of, of a gift of prayer that would be. And I absolutely cannot wait to incorporate that into my own family’s tradition this year. I can not wait. So I want to just give a big thank you to Amy, Laurie, and Daria for sharing those ideas. And also to just encourage all of us to maybe reach out to our friends, to our community, ask them what are they doing for Lent?

Maybe we can kind of reawaken some of these traditions and try something new and create a new experience for ourselves and our families. This Lent. Now I want to dive into giving things up. So of course we can always like add things in what are some new things? What are some spiritual readings we can do? We just kind of talked about those types of things, but when it comes to giving things up, that is also an important part of lent, but I wanted to encourage all of us to really be intentional about what we’re giving up and why. And we can have all sorts of different reasons. I don’t want to say that anybody’s reasons for giving something up are, are not right, but I also want to challenge all of us to really ask ourselves what we’re giving up, why we’re giving it up and how is it drawing us closer to Christ.

So I also want to just kind of help us all to realize that you know, we, we want, we don’t, we’re like, okay, I’m going to give up chocolate, or I’m going to give up social media, or I’m going to give up caffeine, or I’m going to give up, you know, whatever it happens to be. And we know that it’s going to be good for us. We know that it’s going to give us an opportunity to definitely make a sacrifice. It’s going to give us an opportunity to hopefully, you know, maybe it’s to help break a habit that we want to break. Maybe it’s, you know, to get up, get off of caffeine or to get sugar out of our system. And we know that it’s going to also, like, as it’s helping us grow closer to Christ is also going to help us be healthier.

And so we’re, you know, we start off Lent, we’re excited about that. And then we’ve got those first few days and we’ve got the willpower working on our behalf, or like, okay, I’m going to do this. I’m going to be strong. And then all of a sudden, a couple of days into lent and we’re like, why did I give this up? I really want that caffeine. Or I really want that chocolate, or I really want these things. And it’s like this battle of willpower. And I just want to take a moment to kind of talk for a second about what is going on in our brains when this happens. First of all, our brains don’t want us to do things that are outside of our comfort level. Our brains goal is to keep us alive and to keep us moving at an efficient pace. And it doesn’t like to be disturbed with things that are hard for us.

So also our brains, especially if we’re going through the day and we have any stress or negative emotion in our lives, the first thing that are that we’re going to want to our brain is going to want to do is to look for something that’s comfortable. And so it’s, you know, that’s why, like, so often when we’re stressed out, we just, we turn to food or we turn to something because we want to buffer that emotion. We want to have a short term dopamine hit. We want to have something that makes us feel to relieve us from that emotional discomfort that we’re feeling in our lives, in that moment. And so whether it’s, you know, taking a break and getting on social media, kind of zoning out a little bit, buffering those types of things that you know, is a temporary relief. And so I just want all of us to kind of be aware of what’s going on when all of a sudden our brain starts freaking out about the things that we’ve maybe given up for lent.

And how do we address that? There’s a couple things. Number one, when we try to re like, if we have a desire that comes up or an urge that comes up, our initial reaction is to want to resist resist, resist. But one of the things that we in kind of a life coaching world recommend is when that urge comes up, that desire comes up for something particularly something that maybe we’ve given up is such a beautiful opportunity to just pause for a second, press the pause button and think to yourself because the initial response is like, Oh, I just want the chocolate. I just want the sugar. I just want the chips or the drink or the alcohol or whatever it happens to be. And what we want to do is actually stop and pay attention to our brain what’s going on. And what is it, something that are we trying to buffer an emotion, a different emotion and negative emotion at the moment, are we feeling stressed out?

Did something happen? We’re having a negative emotion and maybe we just need to take that emotion, that whatever Mo we’re feeling in that moment, and maybe just become aware of it, observe it, bring it to God, take it to prayer for a second and just be in the present moment. This is what lent is giving us an opportunity. It’s giving us an opportunity to actually get rid of some of these distractions. So we can really examine what is going on in our lives. And it allows us to go to the root of some of the struggles that we might be having, because when we get rid of some of those things that we’re buffering with, then it forces us to really address maybe some of these issues in our lives. Some of the struggles in our own lives that maybe God is inviting us to dive into.

And maybe our Lord is saying, Hey, invite me into this right now, if you’re experiencing pain or suffering, instead of just turning to food or to one of these other things, maybe invite me into this. Maybe invite me into this opportunity for healing or turning to God, or maybe train to him to let something go. Or maybe it’s an emotion that surfaces of, of frustrations or anger or resentment that we’re having towards another person. And it gives us that opportunity to just stop and say, okay, maybe there’s somebody in my life right now that I need to pray for. Maybe there’s somebody in my life right now. I need to forgive. Maybe there’s a situation right now where I really can take this to God and surrender it to him and let this go. The other thing is, is that whenever we’re dealing with those moments of temptations or those desires come up and we really, really want something, I always for myself anyways, this is just my little kind of brain hack type thing is that I almost imagine a toddler in a grocery store.

So I think to myself, okay, Lorissa, it’s time to tame the toddler. These are just like, sometimes there’s this like toddler screaming in my brain. Like, I want that diet Coke, or I want that candy bar, or I want that bag of chips, whatever it happens to be. And especially, it always happens in LA whenever, like five days in to something that I had given up that toddler and my brain just starts screaming. And so I want you to imagine a toddler in a grocery store, that’s screaming and they want candy and you’re pushing the cart and they’re screaming. I want candy. I want candy. And you say, no, you can’t have candy right now. And so what happens? They scream louder and louder and they’re making a scene. And because they believe that if they scream loud enough, you’re going to give in to them.

And so this is the thing. If you give into them and you give them the candy, then they just they’ve learn. They’ve learned, okay. If I just scream loud enough, she’ll give me the candy. And then the next time you come into the store, the child, the toddler screens and screens, and screams louder and louder and louder until you finally give in and give the candy. So this is what happens so much with us. When we, when we wonder, like, why can’t I overcome this urge or this desire? Why is it so strong? It’s kind of like this toddler and our brain. We’ve, we’ve kind of given in so up so much to the toddler in our brain, that it’s almost impossible not to. So there’s this desire in our brain. And it really wants something that really wants that, whatever it is, the social media or the like this dopamine hit or whatever, and it will start screaming.

It it’ll start throwing a temper tantrum in our brain. Our brain will start doing that. And so we have this opportunity to either give into that. And if we do, then we kind of train our brain to get louder and louder and louder. Now I want you to imagine being in a store with a toddler and the toddler starts screaming and says, I want candy. I want candy. And then you say, no, you can’t have candy. We’re not having candy today. And the toddler starts screaming louder and louder. And you just very gently and calmly just say, sweetheart, you’re not going to get candy today. You can scream all you want, but I’m not going to give into you. I’m not going to give it well, eventually the toddler will scream and scream, but then the toddler will get tired of screaming and crying and it will, the child will stop.

And then the next time you go to the store, the child may say, I want the candy. I want the candy. And you’ll just say, no, honey, I’m sorry. We’re not going to have the candy today. And instead of screaming loud, or the child starts to realize, Oh, I know I could scream and scream, but she’s not going to give in. So I’m not really gonna scream as loud. And then the next time the toddler comes in the store, they might say, can I have some candy? And if you just say, no, not today, honey, no candy today. Then the child just knows, okay, no candy today. And eventually what happens is the child just knows that what the answer is. So eventually the child will just stop asking. And this is what happens with us in our brains. That desire of first is so strong.

And the brain is like, this it’s called willpower for, for a reason, because we’re, it’s like this battle of the power of the wills, the will of the mind or the will of the desire is in a battle going back and forth. And yeah, we have the ability, like we have the intellect and the will to overcome that desire. Now, if we just give into it every time, then the, the brain just knows, Oh, she’s just going to give in. She’s just going to give in. But if we just calmly, like when a desire comes up, we look at it and just say, you know, I I made a Lenten commitment. I’m going to offer this up. Yes. I would really love that cup of coffee or that diet Coke, but I don’t need it. And I’m not going to give in this time and just like observe and then just maybe think to yourself, is there something else going on underneath, maybe observe, see if there’s a way to bring it to God, to offer it up, to unite it, to, to Christ, cross this little, this little offering and just observe it and just say, Nope, not right now.

I’m not going to give in. And then just kind of move on with your day. If you start to resist and this temper tantrum stress to arise, then we’re just going to eventually, we’re just going to give in. But if we just calmly and maturely, like as a loving parent, just say, Nope, not today. We’re not going to have that today. Then the next time that desire comes up, the brain is going to say, we want this. We want this. Like, it’s been a really stressful day. Really would feel good to have chocolate. Then all of a sudden, again, we’re like, no, not today. We’re not going to do that. We’ve made a Lenten commitment. We’re going to offer this up to God, but being very, just very calm about it. And then the brain will say, okay, you know, maybe the brain will kind of like, or that desire will kind of battle you for a little bit, but then if you’re just really calm with it and just say, Nope, not right now, then that will happen.

Maybe two or three more times. But eventually that desire starts to subdue a starts to kind of fade away. And then all of a sudden, after you’ve said no, kind of very calmly and rationally enough times, all of a sudden that like that desire does even creep up anymore. And honestly like this, my friends is where true freedom comes from it. It’s where we kind of start to master those desires. It’s it’s this mastering using our intellect, using our will to overcome those desires. Those desires are so strong because we constantly feed them. We’re constantly giving into them. We’re like that desire surfaces. And then we just give in and we feel good in the moment. And then, then we need to feel good again. And it’s those, you know, that desire that it just keeps coming and, and stuff. But I think that this is one of the beautiful things about lying to, is it gives us this time to really pause, put a pause button and to just stop for a minute, to look at the desires when they arise and to remind ourselves like, why did I give this up?

Yes, I love chocolate or yes, I love caffeine and it makes me feel good, but what do I really want? What do I really want in this moment? Like, I really, the thing that I really want more than anything else is to draw closer to our Lord. I want to be close to him. I want him to be the one that rules my heart, not the desires of the flesh. I want to detach from the desires of the flesh because I want my heart and my mind to be more in line with him. And as long as these desires of the flesh are constantly nine, I mean, and in surfacing throughout the day, day in and day out, it’s a distraction. And it keeps me from really being the person that Christ is calling me to be the more we practice these forms of mortification, the more we take control of our intellect and will over the desires of our flesh, the easier it becomes because we’re actually learning how to tame the toddler.

And it just takes a little bit of discipline. Is that self-discipline that when we practice it enough times, then those desires of the flesh, they actually start to kind of fade away. They start to realize, yeah, she’s not going to give into me anymore. There’s really no point in asking for this. And they’re my friends. That’s for beautiful, like beautiful freedom comes into place. And I believe that church in her wisdom and God in his profound love for us in his profound love for us, he wants us to be detached from those desires that so often hold us back from being who he’s made us to be.

So my friends, this is the deal. These are the things that I’m just encouraging us all to think about, to be aware of how the brain works and to take this opportunity, this Lenten season, to, to tame the toddler within, to envision, you know, that toddler just going, Oh yeah, she’s not going to get into me this time. I might as well stop asking how cool would that be to really be able to detach from those things? How cool would it be to allow our soul, to be reawakened this lent to draw closer to him.

And how amazing would it be to even come to Easter Sunday, knowing that we’ve truly been transformed by God’s love and his grace, and not even maybe like desiring on Easter Sunday to just go back to some of those habits that we’ve had before, but really feeling like, gosh, like I changed in a way of I’ve overcome some of these desires, I’ve overcome some of these things that are hard for me in my life. And like God has brought healing to, to certain areas or that he’s allowed me to experience wholeness in a completely new way. I always look at our liturgical seasons, especially advent and lent, and then Pentecost, looking at the seasons as a way of transformation as a way of growth, as a way of discovering Christ’s love in an, in a new way, again, Lent comes to reawaken us. What does God want to show us? How does he want us to draw near to his heart? How does he want us to journey with him? How does he want us to be with him in the desert? During His passion? And how does he want us to experience him on Easter Sunday?

These are just some of the questions. I know that I’m going to be asking myself over the next days and I cannot wait to find the answers. This is what I have for you. My dear friends. I hope that as you enter into lent, your heart is set on fire for what God wants to reveal to you. May you have a truly blessed week and remember mama, you are made for greatness.