Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

Giving Up For Lent? March 4, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Life Balance — beatitudesofmylife @ 9:35 pm
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It’s all over the place today…. the big question on everyone’s mind…. “what are *you* giving up for Lent?”   Is this really what we’re supposed to be doing during the 40 days of Lent?GivingUp4Lent


I always had trouble with the idea that giving up sweets or soda might make my Lenten experience more Holy.  Shutting down my Facebook page or Twitter account might make me realize just how dependent I’ve become on technology, but is there going to be a big “aha” moment when I recognize how much I love staying in touch with the world around me with these computer programs?  While I might end up with the benefit of losing a few unwanted pounds or learn how to make it past the bakery department of my local market without buying a cookie, it isn’t something that will ultimately benefit my soul or help me get any closer to Christ.  Isn’t that the true purpose of doing something for 40 days in a row?  What could I “give up” that would turn Lent into an important time in my life… is it really about giving something up?


It wasn’t until a few years ago that I heard something that made so much more sense.   My priest mentioned that he never liked the idea of having to “give up” something… he preferred the plan to “add” something to his life that might bring him closer to his God.  Typically, he set aside a specified time of the day and would read particular passages of the Bible and contemplate how they might relate to or be incorporated into his life.  I loved this idea.  Finally… something that made sense to me.  I didn’t have to follow along with the rest of society and decide what I was going to “give up” for Lent… I could make the conscious decision to add something to my daily life that would ultimately bring me closer to my God… learn more of His word… do more of His work… act more as He might…  I could do that.   I could strive to make my Lenten experience one of spiritual revival, rather than earthly deprivation.FastGivePrayLent


Consider this alternative to the tradition of Giving Up something for Lent.  Come up with a way to remind yourself, daily, to commune with God in some way.  The specifics of “how” don’t need to be shared with anyone else.  Maybe you’ll set a phone app to send you a Bible verse each day.  Maybe you’ll use the reminder function on your FitBit (or what have you) to remind you to say a prayer at a specific time.  Maybe you’ll be able to push aside all the distractions of the modern world on your own (although I know I’ll be setting my FitBit, because the world is just too “shiny”) and read a Bible chapter or passage each morning/evening.  Whatever works for you, I challenge you to add something to your own Lenten experience this year.


I promise you that it will be worth the journey…


7 Responses to “Giving Up For Lent?”

  1. rwilk Says:

    Nice post Alison! I too have wondered about our corporate practice of giving up something for 40 days only because it’s Lent. Then, going back to it on Easter Sunday. Is that really the sacrifice that Christ did or would approve of? Michael pointed out to me a few years ago, why not give something up that you’re doing, thinking, or engaged in for life? If it’s a behavior or habit that’s bad for us, why only give it up for 40 days?

    To your point of adding something. I like that. I did that one year where I devoted an hour to reading Scripture and praying every day. Good luck and keep on blogging!

    • eddie Says:

      Did you ever consider both/and instead of either/or…

      • Actually, I’ve not ever been comfortable with the idea of giving up, so *for me* it’s going to be an either/or as opposed to both/and. I’m sure there are many people who would prefer to do both… I’m just providing a possible option for those who choose to do nothing.

  2. I’ve heard this before about adding vs giving up. Timely reminder. I think the main thing is having Lent be a time of focusing on the Lord and the sacrifice – however that works for you. Me, I need to get back to some of those disciplines that I’ve let slip by the wayside for far too long.

  3. leka305 Says:

    I think Lent is a time for transformation. Be it giving up something or adding something, at the end of the Lenten journey there should be a change that is evident. To make one’s life holy, transformation is necessary.
    Blessings and strength to you, Alison, on your Lenten journey.

  4. Chelsea Says:

    I agree, Alison! I always think we’re missing the point when we give things up for Lent. We should be focusing on what Jesus did for us, not focusing on our small “suffering” of no chocolate. I’m trying to pay more attention to how God is in the day to day stuff and not get overwhelmed with little things during Lent. Hopefully, I’ll be able to remember these things afterward too!

  5. […] wrote a blog post about “giving up” things for Lent vs “adding something” to Lent (see post HERE).  I think about this dichotomy each year and believe that there’s merit in rehashing the […]

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