It’s that time of year again where we choose what to give up for Lent. Oh, and all the fish on Fridays. But that’s for another time to discuss. Or digest, if you will.
No, today we’re diving into what to give up for Lent, if anything. This is a modern take on fasting. In some way, we’re depriving ourselves as a sacrifice to God, or we’re breaking up with a bad habit to set us back on the “right” path.
There’s right or wrong way to observe Lent, if that’s in your tradition. In our spiritual lives, we often all find a season where, voluntarily or not, we see value in sacrifice. We turn down the number of distractions and vices to more clearly focus beyond ourselves.
Don’t fret, non-Christian friends who won’t question what to give up for Lent: we cannot forget the unfolding spring season upon us. What better time to plant a firm foundation for ourselves than now? All the extra daylight and greenery is bound to bring forth a rejuvenated desire to draw closer to our Higher Power.
So, what should we give up for Lent? What will help us make the most of this season to grow in our spirituality and uplift our connection with Spirit? Keep your eyes peeled for the following ideas to spark your creativity.
habits to give up for lent.
A go-to area we gravitate toward to give up for Lent is our habits. The plethora of things we’re doing and not doing is a can of worms to tiptoe into unpacking.
Although the idea is to give up for Lent, a more inspiring way to approach this what can we gain and incorporate to enrich our lives. Not only is that a more sustainable way to adopt better habits, but it’s also more refreshing to see growth in what we may lack.
1. give up addictive habits.
Easier said than done, I know. And no, don’t look me typing this with my morning coffee in front of me. That’s for another season to address.
In all seriousness, if we feel completely reliant upon something to feel well (besides necessary things like medication), is that a healthy way to live? Do you feel like you need something that really isn’t worth that control in your life? That’s for you to discern.
Addiction is attachment, and unhealthy attachment is suffering. The roots of our pain all originate in clinging so tightly to worldly vices and possessions, we lose sight of our truest Essence. Take on just one thing that you feel dependent upon, and see how you might ease that grip and maybe even let go altogether.
2. give up wasteful habits.
We have this one life on this one planet that is God’s Creation. I see us collectively returning back to the myth of Gaia, Mother Earth, as a single organism, so we may see how crucial it is to nurture life around us.
For all we know, this is the last Lent season we have before Earth becomes irreparable. And this one life you have should not clutter nature with a millennia’s worth of waste and trash.
I challenge you to give up for Lent one wasteful thing (think single-use products) and replace it with the sustainable option. Start somewhere. Every decision matters.
activities to give up for lent.
Here’s another area of things to give up for Lent that ties to our lifestyles. What do we choose to fill each day with? Each moment?
I recently read the classic The Untethered Soul. While at first glance, I felt like I was reading concepts I had already knew, the moment I finished, I came upon the deep realization of how dearly precious each day is.
Every single moment is a gift, and these moments take place on a single spinning rock in the middle of an indefinably immense universe. And here we are for a brief stint called life. Not to sound morbid, but if you were to die tomorrow, was today’s activities fulfilling enough for you to leave with no regrets?
1. give up putting yourself last.
If you’re someone that always loves to give to others, please others, and essentially address everyone else in the room before yourself, then something needs to give. And by that something, I mean you giving back to yourself.
You cannot sustainably live with depleted resources you never take time to restore. Find time each day to do at least one thing that counts as self-care. Yes, I’m even including the bare basics of hygiene, food, water, and sleep. Remember: you’re basically just a houseplant with more complicated emotions.
2. give up procrastination.
I’ll start this project tomorrow…I’ll get to this someday…that can wait…
But really, can it wait?
What’s something you’ve been meaning to get around to doing, but keep putting off for the unforeseeable future? It’s about time to do the thing.
Regardless of what this might be for you, we all have that activity or project we envision that is “TBD.” But time is precious. It’s not guaranteed. If you really care about it, then just do it. Give it a try. Why not?
mindsets to give up for lent.
This category might be the hardest to give up for Lent. Much of what we think doesn’t necessarily cross our minds…at least consciously. The same mental trails we walk tend to be so worn in, we don’t voluntarily decide to go elsewhere. Just addressing mindsets to give up for Lent could bring you the fresh perspective you’ve been needing most.
1. give up self-pity.
Take it from the example of “the reason for the season”: if Jesus could bear the burden of mutilation and crucifixion, then what’s the worst that can happen to you?
Bad things are bound to occur. That’s the balance of life, or the Tao. The only aspect of life truly within our control is how we respond to life. Playing the victim to the throes of existence is digging your own grave.
The best medicine for self-pity is gratitude. When you catch yourself about to think, “Woe is me,” combat it with every reason why you’re grateful in that moment, grateful even for what may be occurring. Such a blessing it is to realize that, if you’re reading this, most of your problems are so minuscule in the grand scheme.
2. give up comparison.
I’ve discussed this topic in great detail over my blogging life, but it’s worth mentioning again: comparison is the thief of joy.
Everyone is writing their own books and are working on different chapters. How can you reasonably compare one story to another, likely amidst very different circumstances? It’s pointless. You’ll always find differences in what you do and don’t have.
Trust that Spirit is weaving your story in the correct timing. All the details have and will fall into place, exactly as they should. Maybe you aren’t syncing up with others in your community or age bracket. News flash: nobody cares. It doesn’t matter.
Stop chasing what others have and look within. Step out of the ever-spinning hamster wheel. Trust your journey and know that the only comparison you can reasonably make is with yourself to recognize how far you’ve come. And the next steps are just around the corner…
Whether you plan to give up for Lent anything I’ve mentioned or may not live any differently, I pray you cherish this joyous season and life. There’s no need to sacrifice who you are. Let Lent invigorate you with a refreshed sense of wonder, curiosity, and determination to breathe in every moment.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie
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