I was raised Episcopal. And as a child, I remember discussions about what everyone was ‘giving up’ for Lent every year.
My dad always gave up sweets. Like clockwork. I can’t remember what anyone else gave up because no one else in my family made it much past that first week.
In my mind, Lent was sort of like a second shot at a New Year’s Resolution. And I didn’t really get it.
Other than realizing that it was something I wasn’t really good at.
Self-denial, that is.
Now, on my personal walk with Jesus, I believe that following these rules doesn’t bring me any closer to Him. Especially if I don’t get it. Giving up eating sweets, or chewing my nails, or watching TV for 40 days is worthless unless I get it.
And I want to get it this year. I haven’t participated in giving up something for Lent in years, and it’s not a season we really ‘observe’ in our house. We believe we are saved by grace, and not by works. End of story.
But for some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about Lent this year. Wondering if I need to use this opportunity to draw closer to Him by giving up something important to me. Something I will miss. Every. Single. Day.
So that I will be reminded of all He gave up, all He sacrificed. For me.
I asked my husband about this and he said, “Well, why don’t you just give something up now? It doesn’t have to be at Lent….”
Ahhhh, men. Do they understand? I mean, if Chris says, “I’m going to start working out.” He does. And he never takes a day off. Or if he says, “I’m going to stop eating sugar.” He does, and he never eats a cookie or a brownie again.
The nerve of that ridiculously self-disciplined man.
I think most men just don’t get how hard it can be for a woman to give up something she loves. How hard it can be for a woman to have to tell herself, “No.”
So, I’m going this alone. I don’t want the guy whose picture is in the dictionary under the term “self-discipline” along for this ride. Way too much pressure. And I hate that kind of pressure.
I want to do this for the right reasons.
And, if I can do this by saying “Yes!” to Him and “No!” to self, I hope I will, at last, get it right.
I’ll keep you posted.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” ~ Philippians 3:8
Good luck Stefanie – only please, please don't tell us you're giving up blogging!
I have a stinky feeling I know where this is headed & I'm not gonna lie to ya – I'm NOT gonna like it. Sure hope you're not dropping the hint that you're gonna take time off from the blog. Say it isn't so!!!
David and Sarah says
We've found Lent to be wonderful preparation for the most important time of the year (Good Friday and Easter). We do "give up" things, but we mostly try to add things in. For example, we might "give up" watching movies and replace that time with prayer. Or we might give up other reading, and replace it with Bible study or missionary stories, etc.
Whatever you decide to do, may it be a blessing to you and to our precious Jesus.
Tara Anderson says
I was raised Baptist, so we never observed Lent. However, now that I'm grown and maturing in my walk with Christ…albeit as a Baptist…I really like the idea of Lent. I haven't tried it yet, but I might one day! Let me know how it works for ya! 🙂
Being that I have the same beliefs as you I get this. I have always bypassed Lent because I thought others might believe I depended on it. But truly it can be such a sweet time of remembering what He truly gave up for me. I hope you truly find something to give up that will help you 'get it' this year.
Just did my Lent post! See you in about 6 weeks my friend~
If you look carefully, you'll find my husband's photo next to Chris in the dictionary. I think it's issued with the uniform on day one. 😉 Here's some ideas for lent.
I've never actually observed lent (being of the grace mindset myself and horribly undisciplined in any way), but it is good to spend this time taking in the gift of the cross. (Matt 19:26)
I'm with you girl! I am giving up chocolate, baked goods and candy. I did last year as well. I can always make it through but I need to remember to be DRAWING CLOSE TO HIM while I'm doing it. To continue reading the Word and looking at HIM.
I'm right there with ya!
I am a "cradle Catholic" & although Lent was always a big event for us, I never "got it" either…that is, until 2 years ago, when I realized, on my personal walk with Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice He made for us. So, with that in mind, for the past 2 years, I have "scraped my soul" during Lent – examined my heart & my soul & try to rid myself of those ugly little things that tend to hang around…I have learned more about myself & my personal walk during these times. I don't necessarily "give things up" any more, but rather focus on the positive, like making sure I do something to serve others or try to be more patient, that kind of thing, that & read my Bible every single day.
With that said…I am currently figuring out what I am doing this year as well…I just hope that YOU will not give up blogging! 😉
Keep us posted on this!
You wrote this really well, Stefanie. When I think of giving up something, I think of something that takes me away from my Bible study and quiet time with the Lord. And I guess the things given up are not always bad things. They might be very good things…but if they are taking us away from spending time with Him, then I think, I get it. Like everybody else, taking away our blogging time with you would be a sacrifice for us,too…sooo you must choose something else. 🙂
I agree that we are saved by grace and not by works. But like you, I appreciate the concept of lent if you really 'get it'…that the reason behind it is to give up something that is important to you and instead replace that addiction (whatever it may be) with personal time drawing near to the Lord. It's a great thing to do ANYTIME, not just during a religious holiday. To "deny ourselves, to take up our cross, and to follow Him" just as the Bible instructs us to. Easier said than done, I know!
And OMGoodness…I think our husbands are the same person!! Seriously, as you described Chris and his man willpower and determination with out any seeming effort…sounds EXACTLY like Martin! GRRRRRRRR! What I wouldn't do to have some of that come a little more naturally to me! If my husband decides to do something, he just does it. End of story. And he does it SUCCESSFULLY pretty much everytime! A great trait really…but sometimes makes me crazy! 😉
Can't wait to see what you decide to 'give up' during your time of drawing more near to Him!
Blessings and Hugs,
Hmmm, just had a discussion w/ Hope about Ash Wednesday and Lent. Mennonites don't normally "do" Lent,but I'm not normal…maybe I need to try it too getting closer to the cross sounds like a good plan in this season of waiting (for DTC, LOA ECT.)
Just noticed my word verification is "relish" whatever!
Sister Kim says
I never 'got it' either. I thought pretty much along the same lines as you. Now, I give in to something that 'means' something, rather than giving up something that has no meaning to me and my spiritual life. In the past several years, maybe 10, I add more time for Him in my day…I pray more…I read holy-type books that make me think and grow. Like the 'purpose-driven life' or Max Lucado's – 'He chose the nails'. I think the purpose behind 'giving something up' is replacing it with something that counts and living that sacrifice. Just giving up pop for 40 days…whats that gonna do for a person. Anyhow…my thoughts-S. Kim
Shay Ankerich says
In church this week, we heard a lesson on the Good Samaritan…the question for us to ponder was..instead of what are we going to give up..why don't we choose something to DO. Some way we can love our neighbor or enemy in the way that Christ loves us. It's been really HARD to come up with something I can DO every single day for 40 days. I'd rather give up diet Pepsi.
Stefanie, I really enjoy these kinds of posts from you! You get me thinking… Thx! : )
3 Peanuts says
I have ben thinking/studying /contemplating Lent this year too. Being raised Catholic, it is something we have always observed. That is how I quit sucking my thumb as a kid. I gave up blogging one year. This year, I have carefully chosen to give up shopping. I know it will bring me closer to God because He does not want me to focus on the material things in life. Lent begins tomorrow and I am currently placing some last minute on-line gift orders…but then I am shopping free for 40 days.!!!!
The reason we give something up is to draw closer to God and it is supposed to be something really hard that we could only realistically do for 40 days. So, when people give up candy…yes, I wonder what the point is. You can also add things in like my boys are reading the Bible daily this Lent. I cannot wait to see where this leads for you.
Steph – hate to tell you, but I think you just might have gotten Lent. A practicer of Lent – who finds it much harder now with a child and a husband who had never heard of it. Agreed that sweets or soda or whatever is not what its about – it needs to be something that means something – that stops you in your tracks every time. May you have a blessed 40 days.
Maggie S says
Well, sure. If you give up one thing or take up another, you will continually run into your own heart that wants to serve itself rather than Him. That is the point of the exercise. I gave up a few things at New Years, it hasn't been that difficult, but I have run into my inside self who is patently rebellious and wants others to live their lives to compensate for my shortfall. Giving up something at whatever term of the year, will put the spotlight on what really matters.
I AGREE on ALL these counts!
ugh. my comment didn't post because i hit enter at the same time you posted your new post!!
i never "got" fasting til i heard a message on it by john piper. i think lent is the similar in that you are saying, "God I want you MORE than x,y,z. I want to feed on YOU MORE than i want to feed my flesh."
you cannot do it, stefanie. But the Holy SPirit in you can! May this be a time of deeper intimacy with your doting Father!!!!