What Is Lent for You?

Let me start with being completely honest with you: Rachel and I are giving up meat for Lent, except for the week of vacation we have planned beginning this Sunday. If you are strongly legalistic, there is no point in your reading further.

It seems from discussions I’ve had with friends and colleagues that Lent has a bit more momentum lately.  ore people are taking time and prayer to consider what they might give up or do especially during Lent.

For this post, I’m categorizing things given up for Lent into two categories.  The first category is things that ought to be given up.  For the clearest example of this, some people I know are giving up smoking.  Their intent is to focus this season on walking away from smoking so that they will never return.

The second category is those things given up for the season more as a practice of discipline.  Our giving up meat is not  intended as a precursor for going completely vegetarian.  A friend is giving up Diet Coke – I don’t know if she hopes to never drink another, or just not until after Easter.

Whichever category you have made your Lenten focus, there is much good to be had from the practice.  We all have things, habits, tendencies we should leave behind.  But we all also have things in our lives whose main danger for us is when the desire or craving grows out of proportion.

What are you doing or un-doing for Lent?  Into which category would you place this?

9 thoughts on “What Is Lent for You?

  1. A 90 year old lady of my congregation told me at the door of the church after services that she was giving up sex for Lent. I didn’t verify if she made it or not.

  2. IMO, giving up something “for Lent” (I guess, in the sense of your first category) is like “going on a diet.” In either case, better is to instead make a lifestyle change — not just at a particular time of year or only for a certain amount of time (such as, “until Easter” or “until I lose 15 pounds”).

    But “practicing discipline” (the second category) — that’s an interesting concept to me. I used to be very self-disciplined. In recent years, though… not so much. I like your point about waiting, too, in the comments. My ability to appreciate “delayed gratification” has waned severely over the past several years. I try to deny it, but I sense a link between that phenomenon and my increased time online. You know? Any bit of information, any graphic image, any game, any contact with a multitude of people — all at the click of a button. Giving that up would be much harder, I bet, for me than giving up meat would be…. Oh wait, I’ve already done the latter….. Well, maybe I’m not doing so bad, after all, then. (Ha! I know better….)

  3. I am going to give up leagalism for Lent. I will hold to it absolutely and punish myself if I break it. I also believe that evryone should do exaclty as I do and not be leagalistic.
    Seriously, I liked your post. One Sunday I was sharing how I liked the fact that the 40 days of Lent didn’t cover Sunday, becuase Sunday is always Easter. I like the idea that even in the midst of penitence God reminds us of Grace and hope. I had a young lady who had given up soft drinks for Lent ask me that since Sundays are Easter (you can see where this is going) would it be OK to drink a Coke on Sunday. I said sure. But rememeber it will make giving it up on Monday that much more difficult. I told her the better question was why she was giving something up and might there be benfits to not doing something even if she could.

  4. For the last few years I have given up all drinks except for water. My thought process is that we need water; everything else is just flavoring, a craving of the flesh. So when I’m thirsty, and a soda or tea would be great, or in the morning when I REALLY want a cup of coffee, that drink of water reminds me of my commitment to Christ. He is our living water. I have found this to be very spiritually connective.

    I’ve talked to several people this year that describe “giving up some sleep.” They are getting up early to read scripture and/or do devotionals. This is something that they have struggled to work into their lives regularly & they are using Lent to motivate themselves.

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