Monday, February 27, 2012

Giving Up Something For Lent?


Ever since I can remember, I have always heard of people giving up something for Lent.  This practice reflects a spiritual and physical discipline that is something lacking during the rest of the year.  It can be a great thing, especially if it is done with the right frame of mine - trying to improve oneself, denying something that is not good for you anyway, showing oneself that something difficult can be done, etc.  It can also become a contest if more than one person is involved, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Some of the things that I have seen people giving up for Lent include: watching television, smoking, chocolate, caffeine, sweets, eating between meals, drinking, swearing, and even riding in elevators!  Giving up any of these could be seen as something that might improve one's health, attitude, or discipline.

It has also been observed that once Lent is over, the person giving up something tends to RUN back to it quickly and have a great time!  What was once a little dessert becomes a second or even third helping.  Drinking an occasional alcoholic beverage becomes going out and getting drunk as soon as Lent is done.  So it can go too far the other way too.

But what about adding something to your life instead of denying something?  Suggestions might include a 30-minute walk after dinner instead of watching television, spending 30 more minutes reading, spending more time with your children or grandchildren, a weekly "night out" with your spouse, or even daily Bible study. 

Adding something to your life can also help with your spiritual discipline.  Be creative!  Give it a try!  And see if that Lenten discipline can become a habit that will continue long after Lent is over.

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