Giving something up for Lent was a foreign concept when I was young. It was something Catholics did, not us. As an adult, I discovered the value of a time of special discipline in preparing myself for Easter. I’ve given up chocolate, ice cream and coffee (the hardest!). I found practicing the idea that I couldn’t indulge myself whenever I want to be spiritually valuable.
The last few years, however, I’ve turned it around. One year I worked on giving up being self-critical for Lent. Now I frame it positively. My Lenten discipline is to treat myself every day. I might buy extra coffee or chocolate, or get myself a novel. I might sit down at the piano to play and sing a song from a Broadway musical. Sometimes I take the time to call a friend.
I’ve found this discipline to be just as challenging, perhaps more so, than giving something up. I use it to remind myself, every day of Lent, that God treasures me.
2 replies on “Are You Giving Anything Up?“
One of the big pluses to taking on a spiritual discipline for a time, is it helps us notice what we do. When we give something up, we can begin to notice how strong our tendencies are to want that thing, a spiritual milestone in itself.
Last year I gave up driving over 55 mph on the Turnpike (on my long commute.)
This year I decided to giving up negative comments and criticisms of what others in leadership say or do… substituting silence, a pause to listen and consdier, prayer, or some other kind of response. So far, not batting 1,000 but doing better than if I weren’t at least trying.