Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

I have never given up something for Lent. This is primarily because I was never part of a denomination that really discussed this or promoted it (I grew up Baptist), so I just heard about it growing up and didn't understand the purpose.

Yesterday I happened to flip by the theologically sound show, The Talk, and they were discussing what they would consider giving up during Lent. It sort of hit me when one of the hosts said, "What would be the most difficult thing for you to give up for 40 days?"

If you're my real life friend, keep up with me on Facebook, or have read my blog very long, this couldn't possibly be difficult to figure out about me. My top two would be:


Now, how exactly would a person correlate giving up McDonald's or Facebook with honoring God or growing closer to Him? As I was putting together this post, I noticed that a friend on Facebook said:
"Kinda wondering if all the people giving things up for Lent are actually Catholic. [If not] I guess my question is: why? I mean, if it is symbolic of the sacrifice, it's commendable, but I get the impression a lot of people do it more as a challenge to themselves, like a mid-year New Years Resolution, or because they can. But I hope everyone who does at the very least reads on what it means. Otherwise it's like a mockery of the whole point of it."
I completely agree with her.

If I were to take part in it, it would not be because I think scripture commands me to or that I have to. I think a large part of this practice has to do with self-denial. How often do we tell ourselves no? Could I grow closer in my faith if I had to give up two of my biggies and rely on His strength to do it? As silly as it sounds, I know it would be nearly impossible for me to give up the two I shared. Why is that? Do they have control over me? Maybe they do! That shouldn't be! Why do I find myself pulling through the drive-thru when I'm not hungry or logging onto Facebook when I just checked it 10 minutes ago? Maybe I need to let go of those things to see what He can do in my life.

What would I do with all the time I spend on Facebook?

What would I do with the money I save by not eating out or how would my health improve?

And what does God want to show me through that?

I don't think we only have to make a sacrificial decision during Lent. I think it's something we should consider year-round. I think anytime we find ourselves bound to something, whether it's food or a habit or whatever, maybe we should evaluate the why of it.

What would you give up?

Or maybe the question should be, what should you give up?


Casie said...

‎"maybe we should evaluate the why of it." <-- exactly. Perhaps this is a good 'time' of the year to evaluate ourselves, but if a change you notice should be made, make it not temporary.

Ashley said...

Personally, I don't see Lent as a time to necessarily give something up, but as 40 days to quiet myself and prepare my heart for the coming of Christ. If you feel the need to cut something out of your life to help quiet yourself, then so be it...but maybe you don't!

Bethany said...

I think it has to do with being an idol. And I think that giving something up can become an idol for some people who get so proud about it.

I think culturally, people like the idea of sacrificing something like a new year's resolution, and Lent is one way. I wonder how many people who do Lent sacrifices are celebrating the resurrection of Christ and not just the return of their vice.

I think that Mardi Gras is inappropriate in the light of doing Lent for the right reasons, too.

Anonymous said...

Great post!! I've never given up anything for Lent before either...this year our evangelical church decided to do an entire study on it. I've decided to give up all of my snacking that I do throughout the day. When I was thinking about what I would give up and what consumed most of my time I cam to a couple of realizations...1. I couldn't give up my kids and 2. 40 days without doing laundry would NOT be beneficial to ANYONE!!!
So I decided on snacking...we are supposed to be vessels of God and I figure if I am being unhealthy that's not a very good this year I decided to make the sacrifice in order to honor him i a little bit of a different way. Hope that makes sense!!

Wendy said...

Interesting. I'm not Catholic and never really understood the practice of giving up something during the Lenton season and my reason behind it was usually the person who was giving up something never really portrayed themselves as "catholic" or doing much int heir life that represented much of a "christian" lifestyle. I always wondered why, if they were not doing it for the real purpose.

I think it ties into the practice that Christmas is just one day a year or Easter isn't just another holiday. Giving up something or not means you should practice the faith and live it no matter what time of year it is. And if you are giving up something for just 40 days is it really something you need in your life to begin with?

Interesting post Chrissy!

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