Lent is traditionally a time when we focus on giving up something – such as chocolate, alcohol or meat. Last year, I took part in 40 acts, a generosity challenge from Stewardship that focuses on the giving side of giving up in Lent – 40 different challenges across the 40 days of Lent. I looked forward to the email each day, to discovering what the challenge for the day would be. Some were easier than others and several took me right out of my comfort zone but I managed to complete all 40 of the challenges (albeit some more fully than others) and it made me more mindful of the little things that I could do each day to make a small difference to those around me.
Last year’s challenges included the following:
- Committing to doing one green thing to help the environment.
- Baking cakes and giving them out to people.
- Leaving a note of encouragement in a random place for a stranger to find.
- Offering to pray for someone.
- Going offline and turning my phone off for a day in order to focus on connecting with people face-to-face.
- Giving flowers to someone for no reason.
- Meeting a need locally, e.g. donating to the local food bank.
- Having a clear out and re-gifting possessions to a local charity shop.
- Sharing my story.
40acts was what prompted me to start this blog. I had taken part in a writing challenge for several years which involved writing exactly 100 words each day and was blogging about 40acts in 100-word posts each day. Whilst I enjoyed the challenge, I also found the constraints of the 100 word format frustrating at times and I wanted to be able to share my story without having to be so concise – and lo! my blog was born. Who would have thought almost a year later, I’d be blogging so frequently having discovered a wonderful community of fellow bloggers that I never knew existed and what a blessing it has been to be part of this community. Who knows where my 40acts journey will lead this year?
You can find more about the 40acts challenge on their website where you can also sign up to receive their daily emails. This year is the 5th year that 40 acts has been running – last year over 46,000 people signed up and contributed to 1.8 million small acts of generosity. I’ll be taking part again this year – would be great if you could join me!