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My youngest daughter, she’s eleven, asked me the other day, “Mom, what are you giving up for Lent?” I politely told her I wasn’t giving up anything and I thought she was going to faint. Until I explained why.


Caffeine was something I tried to give up once. I had a horrific headache for a week and was an incredibly unpleasant person to be around until the withdrawal was complete. After that, I didn’t mind at all, and the “sacrifice” had lost its difficulty factor and became a minor inconvenience. 


I tried the “no meat on Friday” thing, but could never remember and then felt terrible that I couldn’t even do something so simple. I’m not a huge sweets lover, so where’s the sacrifice in that? This whole “giving up” something for Lent just seemed so passive, somehow, and not very edifying at all.


So, I thought instead of giving something up, how would it be if I SIMPLY GAVE instead? What if I actually used my time, (which I guard carefully), in ways that would bless others in unexpected ways. The first Lent that I tried this, I did random acts of kindness all throughout Lent. The point was to NOT let the person know who was doing the kindness for them. I would then spend time in prayer for that person’s specific needs, asking the Lord to bless them as only He could. 


Now, as the season of Lent comes around, I look forward to finding ways to please the Lord, not by giving up pop or meat or whatever, but by giving of myself in an active way. And while none of this compares to the sacrifice of Jesus giving himself on the cross for my sake, it does cause me to pause and ponder the wonders of His marvelous love for me, and in turn make me want to share that love with others. 

“Whatever you do for the one of the least of these, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 40


One Comment leave one →
  1. 2March2012 19:21

    Thanks for your thoughts. I always had trouble with the “giving up” thing for Lent and your reflections are spot on. I promote a different approach to Lent. It is a season to “give in” to things in our faith journey. Give in to more Bible reading. Give in to more daily prayer. Give in to more spiritual reading. Give in to more worship. Give in to more sacrificial giving. Etc., etc., etc.

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