Lent is a time when we practice our faith in a very visible way, but do you know what to say when someone asks, "How's your Lent diet going?" This Lent we will be answering common questions that your friends, co-workers, families, or strangers may ask so that you feel able to answer. Follow us on Facebook @StJosephGolden.

For many of us, when we decide to give something up for Lent we choose something sweet or unhealthy. It’s a popular choice for many reasons. Lent is a time of penance and sacrifice, and desserts and cheeseburgers are indulgent. Jesus told us, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). A cookie with lunch, afternoon treat in the break room, or dinner from the drive-thru can become a highly anticipated part of our routine. To refocus on God during Lent, sometimes we need to shake things up and disrupt our routines. Or maybe it’s a reminder to turn to Christ to satisfy our deepest hungers instead of food.

I’m not sure if you have been counting, or just receiving your daily Lent email through Flocknote, but today is day 13 in our Lenten journey. By two weeks into Lent, you may have started to notice some physical benefits, as well as spiritual ones. But what do you say if someone asks about your dietary changes or weight loss?

Giving something up is an outward sign of our inward journey. Your pants might be looser now and that shows people something has changed with you. It’s a great way to start a conversation about God.

If someone asks, you don’t need to share the details of why you chose a particular thing to give up unless you want to. That information can stay between you and God. You can say something like, “Thanks for asking. I have made some changes in my life for Lent and to help me focus on my relationship with God.”

You can add details about spending more time in prayer instead of doing whatever you gave up and getting to share with others through almsgiving instead of buying what you gave up. The important thing is to let people know that any physical changes they might notice are not because you are trying to lose weight, but because you are trying to lose sin and grow closer to God.

If someone asks how giving something up for Lent strengthens your relationship with God, you can say, “sacrificing something I like reminds me of the sacrifice Jesus made for me and helps me to appreciate the blessings in my life.”

Email me at audreyg@stjoegold.org if you would like to receive Lent emails or texts.