Lent Begins: Giving Things Up for A Reason

twitter lent

 

Lent starts today and although our denomination does not typically celebrate Lent, I like the tradition of giving something up as a way to focus on my faith. In years past, I gave up caffeine and added strength training. I know Lent is about giving things up, but I liked the idea of giving up something I didn’t need and adding something I did need.

That year I did well. I got rid of caffeine and to this day hardly drink caffeinated drinks and I’m fairly consistent with strength training although I could always do better.

This year I’ve been thinking about why giving things up can be healthy for you physically and mentally. I did a few searches and found that people tend to give up things for Lent that fall into a couple of different categories. Here’s an article that has pulled together the most common things people give up for Lent from Twitter.

1) Habits They Want to Break

Some people give up a habit they want to break such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, watching certain television shows, or eating too much of a certain food. Other people give up gossiping, swearing, negativity, or nail biting.

2) Things They Enjoy

People observing Lent often give up things they enjoy as a way to prepare for Easter. They might give up chocolate, Facebook or Pinterest, a hobby they enjoy, or favorite television program. I read a post that described how someone gave up sleeping on their bed for 40 days. I don’t think I could do that one.

Like in years past, I’ve thought a lot about giving things up for Lent and wondered if there is a long-term value to it. I was talking to my daughter this morning, who is stranded along with the rest of us because of ice and snow. You know you live in the South where your town has two or three snow plows. We just have to wait for the snow to melt because they never plow our road or the connecting road. Here’s a picture of the swing I got for Mother’s Day a few years ago. I can’t wait for summer.

swing in snow

Anyway, she shared that she gave up Pinterest and reading fashion blogs during Lent a few years ago and she found it valuable. She said that even now, two years later, she has not gone back to spending as much time as she used to reading those blogs or pinning things.

That has been my experience as well and not just for Lent. Losing weight involves giving things up. We might not like to think of weight loss  in a “negative” way, but it’s true. We do have to give things up in order to change our life. I gave up huge portions, plus-sized clothing, unhealthy restaurant meals, low self-esteem, and feeling out of control with my weight. Those were all positive things to give up.

I’ve thought about what I want to work on for the next 40 days and here are my two. I wanted one that was relationship oriented and one that was health oriented.

First, I am going to be more intentional with my time. I can spend a lot of time surfing the Internet, chatting on the phone, or just getting nothing done. I’m going to work on scheduling blocks of time for specific tasks and using my newly created free time to spend more quality time with the people I love.

Second, I am going to not eat any chips, pretzels, or processed crackers for the next 40 days. Granted I don’t eat any of those foods very often, but every time I do have them, I know they aren’t doing anything for me nutritionally.

Giving things up for a reason can be a very positive experience and one that you can take forward past the Lenten season.

How do you feel about giving things up for a period of time? Do you find it helpful or frustrating? Diane

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About Diane Carbonell

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Comments

  1. Many years ago I did give up things for Lent. It wasnt just a thing I did. I really meant it. Every time I would want whatever it is I would give up, I would think of Jesus and the sacrifice he made. I began to find that fasting was a way to clear my mind too. Periodically, I would do that and I found it helpful. These days I am no longer in the religion I once was (Catholic) but do still see the importance of fasting. Though I dont think I would make it through a fast without some type of drop in my blood sugar. But I do see the importance of clearing your mind. I think the same thing might be accomplished by, maybe, deciding on some simplistic diet for a week. So you dont have to think about it. Not too lose weight but to focus on whats in your brain rather than food, food, food. It might accomplish the same thing.

  2. I think foregoing something for a period of time is a really good thing, especially for building confidence in one’s self and reassurance that we can become empowered by our choices. I have fasted with certain foods and activities in the past during Lent, and it always made me feel like I was doing something purposeful. Good luck with the choices you have made this year. And blessings to you and yours, as you look forward to Easter Sunday!

  3. Interesting question. I don’t typically give things up for Lent, but I do go through seasons of time when it becomes clear to me that I need to simplify. I enjoy reading personal growth books, but I will sometimes get to the point when I feel I can’t possibly read anything more about self-improvement! I benefit greatly during that time by just enjoying where I am in life, rather than reaching for something I haven’t yet achieved.
    Jen at Thingineering recently posted…Thingineering Breakfast at StarbucksMy Profile

  4. I decided to give something up this year. I never have in the past but I’ve spent several weeks thinking about the reasoning behind it and I feel like you and your daughter I think. I picked something that will be a challenge for me because I want it to be a little difficult – I think that it will turn out to be a good thing for many reasons!!!
    Kim recently posted…Giving Something UpMy Profile

  5. It’s a nice idea to give something up and replace it with something else more constructive. I like that — not making it a matter of deprivation but of redirecting energy to where it can do more good.

  6. I like the idea of giving up something or starting something new for a fixed period of time…I like the challenge either ways it makes me stronger…