Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beginning in Lent

What is this old tradition of giving something up for Lent? Do people really do that anymore? Some of those more stalwart traditionalists do still chose to observe Lent by giving something(s) up. Maybe that sounds like something you think you should do. Maybe that sounds like something that would make you feel like you're being a better Christian. So what will you give up for Lent?

What you give up for lent should be more than a little self-denial. I know life without chocolate or coffee feels like great suffering, but many of us (like me) console ourselves with the thought that it is temporary; we get to have it back after Easter. Does trying to make it seven weeks without your am kickstart do anything to deepen your relationship with God; or does it merely increase the suffering of those enduring your presence during that time? Lent shouldn't be a second shot at a new year's resolution.

Try making a change that puts your focus where it needs to be. That might mean actually adding something instead of giving something up. (stopping to pray in the middle of the day) or choosing to eliminate a habit that has the power to really transform. Perhaps consider the thought, "What can I take with me beyond Easter from this experience?" before you decide. That way what you give up (or take up) has a meaning that will last, one that will help you carry it through without asking, "How much longer do I have to do this?!?"