40 Days of Giving Up…

Lent. Through history, people who celebrate lent often pick something to “give up” during the 40 days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. While sometimes this can become a check-list, Pharisee-like, ritual to try to “be a good Christian” for some, it can also be a beautiful opportunity to focus more on Jesus as we sacrifice something–a chance to say, “Jesus, you are more important.”

For me, as I enter this season each year, above all, I always look for ways to connect with God in a fresh way and let him shape me and mold me (as I would pray He would do any day of the year). Some years I haven’t “given up” anything. One year I even gave up Lent itself! This year, I’m giving up 40 things! No, not all at once. Rather, one for each day, though I hope and pray these are things that I can give up for life! While giving up things like chocolate or a certain food item can be a great prompt to think of Jesus when I want them, the things I long to give up this Lent are the things that on a day-to-day basis keep me from seeing Jesus and create instant idols in my life.

This lent, I want to give up pride and ingratitude. I want to remember that because of the way Jesus forgave me through his death on the cross I have power to give up any unforgiveness in my heart toward others. I desire to fast from looking at what others have with jealousy or envy. I abandon greed, entitlement, and bitterness. I’ll forgo pity-parties and leave behind insecurities.  And the list goes on.

I may only focus on each of these things for a day, but I pray that in doing so, they can be things that Jesus can take out of my life forever. While I’m hoping to blog about one of these things each day, I have to admit that might be hard to follow up on.   To publicly say I’m giving up these things, means I deal with them (and who likes to admit that!?!). It might be hard, but having these moments to reflect and share of the things that take instead of give value to my life and those around me, is perhaps a way of having daily confession. I pray this will bring the tough stuff that we all deal with (please tell me I’m not alone!!!) out of darkness and into the light. I hope you’ll journey with me and find opportunities to say “me too! I want to give that up too!”

Jesus, we give ourselves to you this lent and as you to open our eyes to the things that keep us distant from you, the things that Satan uses to steal, kill, and destroy our lives, take these things away. Release our grip on them that we truly may give them up and be filled with Your abundant, full, true life! In Your Name, we pray, Amen! 

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