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7 Things to Give Up For Lent

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There’s snow on the ground and the breeze is ice cold, yet tomorrow marks the first day of Lent, which marks the 40 day journey toward Easter and a time of rebirth.

Tomorrow also marks the day where many Christians begin a time of fasting and using the weeks ahead to prepare their hearts for a celebration like no other, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  So this year, instead of giving up the same thing you’ve given up in years past, try on something else for size with these 7 things to give up for Lent.

What is Lent?

Though Lent is not discussed in the Bible, it is a tradition that has been adopted by Christians for hundreds of years.  The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday (the first Wednesday in March) and continues for 40 days until Easter Sunday.  It is a time where careful practice and rituals are often conducted, including the practice of fasting.

Fasting is when a certain behavior or activity is not conducted for the a predetermined period of time.  Many Christians use Lenten fasting as a means to give up something that has become an “idol” of sorts or that interferes with their relationship with God.  People give up many different things for a variety of different reasons, but as long as their purpose is to seek a closer relationship with their Lord, we are not to judge their decision of how long it is conducted or what they have chosen to fast from.

7 Things to Give Up & Why

  1. Food or Beverage
    One of the most common things that Christians fast from during the Lenten season is their favorite food or beverage.  They use this time to forgo their daily trips to Starbucks, eating chocolate or possibly indulging in carbonated or even alcoholic beverages.

    An idea to take this step further is to use the money that is saved throughout the month from not purchasing these items to contribute towards tithing or giving to as a charitable donation.  It may surprise you just how much money we spend in consuming these things that are not sustaining us, but rather providing temporary satisfaction.  Seeking to overcome the cravings from these items and seeking to fulfill the voids within us with God, is something to be commended, not judged.
  2. Entertainment
    How often do you find you’ve wasted an hour reading through nonsensical articles online?  How about the amount of time that we spend in front of the television, blankly staring at a pixelated screen that broadcasts our favorite shows?

    If we really stop and consider the amount of time that we waste on a daily or weekly basis in these mind-numbing tasks, it’s rather outstanding.  No wonder our generation is suffering from eye strain and our relationships lacking!  If we choose to limit ourselves or even give up these types of time-consuming tasks throughout Lent, just think how much better our relationships with others around us, as well as our relationships with our Maker can become!
  3. Extraneous Spending
    A pack of gum here, a new pair of pants there.  A cute handbag or a pair of sneakers.  It all adds up and the extraneous spending cuts into our income in manners that we often don’t want to think about.

    If we take a pause and give up this type of spending, we could use the money we typically throw away in order to help pad our savings accounts, put away for a special trip to see loved ones or fund an endeavor that you’ve dreamed of doing for years.  The money saved could be used in a number of ways, however, we want to be conscious that we’re not just shifting it from one extraneous shopping spree to another extraneous purchase.  It is important to consider using the money in a worthy manner, and one that can help to glorify God in the end.
  4. Addictions
    We’re all addicted to something, it’s not just the “junkies” that are doing it.  If you don’t like the word addiction, then think of it as a habit that keeps you from completing other tasks or that are unhealthy choices. 

    I for one have a tendency to overeat since I eat too fast and do not allow myself the time needed for my body to register that I’m full.  Others may be addicted to smoking a cigarette after a meal. Whatever your addiction (habit) is, consider how you may be able to break free from these behaviors and move towards behaviors that are beneficial to life and your health.  God made us in His image to love one another; not to be Facebook stalkers.
  5. Activities
    What day-to-day activities consume your life?  Do you spend more time at work than at home?  Do you find your relationships with family and friends lacking because you’re so absorbed in activities that pull you away from bonding time?  

    Take a look at your schedule and see what activities are draining you of life and hurting your relationships.  See what things you can break free from or spend less time participating in and make the move towards a healthier, less stressful and more loving life.  God desires happiness for you, especially when relating to others.
  6. Social Media
    How much of our time is consumed scrolling through a never-ending stream of information on social media outlets?  I for one thing have been known to be checking Facebook from both my laptop and my iPhone, at the same time…sigh!

    Our society is social media-driven, which is a great thing in that it allows us to network and connect with others we may have never known, however, it is also a great time waster and can consume huge chunks of our days.  Consider limiting yourself to only small doses (set a timer) of social media check-ins during the day or eliminating usage for the entire Lenten season.  Just think about all of the free time you’ll have that you could be focusing on “Liking” the Word of God as you read the Bible or participate in a Bible study, connecting with the Lord of all.
  7. Negativity
    Our news sources and news feeds online is full of negative and downright depressing information.  It’s become socially acceptable to laugh at jokes about women being told to go to the kitchen to make a “sammich” and degrade other people whose lives are “outside the norm”.  

    God didn’t call us to make fun of one another because of our differences, He called us to love one another.  Remember the commandment in Mark 12:30-31,
    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  There is no commandment greater than these.”

    So instead of making fun of others, watching or participating in activities or behaviors that degrade others (including yourself), take the next 40 days to think in a more positive and encouraging manner.  You’ll be surprised how much better you feel in just a short time!
What are you fasting from this Lenten season?  I’d love to hear from you so that I can help to provide encouragement as we travel this 40-day journey together!

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  1. There is much that we can give up during this time. Some are giving up chocolate or french fries, or soft drinks or sweets. I felt as if I need to do something a bit deeper than that… I love your list because it points out some things that I have been thinking about
    the negativity… how about giving up our bad attitudes, giving up harsh words, gossip, complaining….. and in turn when we catch ourselves doing such…. take that time to pray, to give that to the Lord, and to reach out to others in a way that is completely opposite of what we did. His word calls us to help the widows the poor…… lets give up the junk and get back to what God has called us to.
    Thanks for sharing!! I am seeing this very clearly!!

    1. Piper, WOW!! You could write your own blog post on your reflections! 🙂 I love what you’ve said about the need to take things deeper. Though this year I am giving up sweets, it’s something I really do struggle with. So when the cravings surface, telling me that I could sneak a brownie or a cookie and no one would notice, I do as you’ve said and turn to God and use that time to pray… instead of eat.
      I hope you’ll stop back and share what you’ve decided to give up and how you are doing with it, in weeks to come! Be blessed!

  2. I have not been familiar with Lent and found the history you shared on it to be very helpful. What will I give up? I don’t know, I will let you know what I feel led to do.

    1. Jeannie, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing. I sometimes forget that others may not be familiar with the concept, since I grew up fasting each Lenten season. I’m blessed to know that this post has provided some insight for you and also lead you to consider giving something up in the days ahead.
      I look forward to hearing from you and how you’re doing with your fast, so be sure to stop back!

  3. Bree, it’s so nice to “meet you” through the Friday Five linkup! I love the practical ideas that you shared here. I usually try to read a book on the life of Christ during Lent to prepare my heart for Easter.

    1. Lyli,
      Thanks for stopping by via the link-up! And ooh, I love the idea about reading a book during Lent. Do you have some suggestions you’d be willing to share?

  4. Like Jeannie, Lent is not something I have been all that familiar with but you provided some great suggestions on ways to take the idea of giving something up a little deeper.

    1. Wanda, as I told Jeannie, I sometimes forget that others are not familiar with this tradition, as it’s something that I’ve always done. What a blessing that God laid this on my heart to share so that others could learn about this opportunity to grow in their faith! He is so good!
      I hope you’ll stop back and share what you’ve decided to fast from and how you’re doing in the process. Have a blessed week!

  5. Hi, Bree, so nice to meet a fellow mountaineer! I have found Lent to be a good time for me to pick up an additional spiritual discipline. This is a good list you include here, thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

    1. Montaini Semper Liberi! Glad to have another WV gal visiting! What type of spiritual discipline are you following this Lent? Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. Hope to see you here again in the future!

  6. What a great resource for the ideas to give up for Lent. I sometimes take too long trying to figure out what I will give up that I lose the meaning on Lent. Oh, to be so focused on His grace for me! Thanks so much for linking up to Inspire Me Monday! Love your tagline! 🙂

    1. Hi Angie! Sister, I totally understand where you’re coming from on the whole decision making. I’m like that with New Years resolutions as well! Haha! But I digress, I hope that this list has provided you some ideas of where you can start and how you can continue the rest of this season journeying a little closer to God. Be blessed!

  7. Hi, Bree! Your suggestions are very practical. We don’t realize the hold some things have in our lives until called upon to give them up – even temporarily. Great article.

    1. Ebony,
      You’re so right! We are greedy, sinful people and it’s amazing what it sometimes require in order to let go of things that we think we cannot do without. If only we open our eyes to see what the Lord desires, we can finally be free of these vices. Thank you so much for visiting. Many blessings to you and yours this Lenten season!

  8. I know so many people who give things up for Lent but have no idea why. They do it because everyone else does, or because they always have and it looses meaning. I like that you didn’t only give suggestions for what to give up but ideas for how we can use this time to bring the focus back to where it was meant to be. Great post!

    1. Georgiana, great points! Sometimes we find ourselves following tradition out of habit and take for granted what the true meaning is behind it. So many people do this week in and week out, in just attending church. We’ve got to break out of doing things out of habit and get to the root meaning of why these activities are important for our lives. Thank you for the reminder! Be blessed!

  9. Hi Bree! Stopping by from the SITS Spring Fling. I’m not giving up social media completely, because I do use it to promote my little business ventures. But I am giving up the time I usually spend on the computer after our kids are in bed. This gives me more time to focus on my husband and our time together. I’ll tell ya, it’s hard! The temptation is strong “just to sneak a look at FB real quick” or “just to play one round of” whatever online time-waster I like to play on any given day. I have to remind myself that if Jesus can lay down His life for me, I can certainly give up that half-hour of screen time.

    1. Beautifully written, Lisa! Social media – wow, I’m with you girl! I didn’t give up that one this year (though I probably should have) because of my use to promote my blog/business, but I applaud you for going the extra mile and using the time that you used to be logged in to whatever time-waster and using it to focus on your relationship with your husband. Bravo! I love your last line! If Jesus can lay down His life for me, I can surely lay down my iPhone to connect with Him! Thank you much for sharing and I hope you’ll stop back to share about your journey this Lent!

  10. Hi Bree,
    I’m visiting from the iBloom fb group. Your post is very thought provoking. My goal for Lent is to draw closer to the Lord during this time. Some of that will include some of what you’ve written above.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you much for visiting and taking the time to comment! I am so blessed to know that this post has inspired you to take that next step this Lent, in drawing closer to God. I hope you’ll visit again soon to let me know what approach you’ve adopted and how things are going for you! Many blessings to you!

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