Yup, Lent is coming soon! Ash Wednesday is in tomorrow and is the first day of Lent. I think I know what I’m giving up this year, and it was partially informed by a great post that I read over at ThinkChristian. Here’s a small excerpt:
Lent begins in just two weeks, and I’ve always found it beyond coincidental that just as the receding snow reveals the unappealing garbage underneath, the spiritual disciplines of denial associated with Lent do the same for one’s soul.
Giving up certain things—like sex, certain foods, alcohol, caffeine—often reveals all too clearly our reliance on those things. I know of people who have worked to give up coffee for Lent, others who have set aside all sweets, still others who have relinquished alcohol. None of these people were addicts (except maybe the coffee lover), but all of them struggled to give up their chosen item. Once they made the choice to renounce it, the hold the item had became that much stronger. But moving into surrender, they realized how bound they were. Naming their temptation was like holding a hair dry to a snow drift: suddenly the thing that seemed so unremarkable became very ugly.
But that is exactly the point. We are not asked during Lent to give up things that are easy to give up. We are not asked to set aside chocolate if we never eat it or coffee if we never drink it. We are called to give up those things that tempt us to rely on them and not on Christ. We are called to set aside those behaviors that move us into sin (whether that be idolatry or sloth or pride or lust or…), and replace them with behaviors that move us closer to Christ.
I’ve always tried to pick something to give up for Lent that would be a challenge – past things have included pasta, caffiene, potatoes, and cheese (they may not sound like that big of a deal, but trust me, they were . . . especially cheese). I’ll discuss this year’s choice tomorrow, but I’m curious to know what others are giving up for Lent (or are you not participating?) – please share in the comments!