Give up and Add in

01Feb08

That’s what I want to do for Lent this year – give something up and add something in. Every year, I give something up, but in the spirit of this new life I’m building, I want to add something in, too.

For those who don’t know about or practice it, Lent is a Christian season remembering Jesus’ time spent in the desert facing temptation and preparing Christians for the celebration of Holy Week and Christ’s resurrection. It’s practiced VERY differently across sects, families and individuals. For many devout Christians, it’s an intense period of fasting, prayer and churchgoing. For others, it is marked more secularly. It is typically marked by some level of fasting – for the very devout, complete fasting during the day; for the more secular or differently faithful, something will be given up for the Lenten period as a stand-in for fasting.

I’ve written before about my faith, and most people would call me a C&E (Christmas and Easter) Christian, a cafeteria Christian (taking what fits and leaving the rest), or just a plain-old non-churchgoing Christian. I just say that the big guy and I do it on our own, but I go in for twice-yearly checkups. 😀 I don’t go to church on Ash Wednesday or during Lent, but I do usually go for Easter service. I don’t fast, but I do give something up. Usually I get an idea pretty easily, a fair while before Lent starts.

But this year I’m stumped!

Lent starts in 5 days, with Ash Wednesday on February 6th. Then I have to 40days (plus Sundays) until Easter on March 23rd to stick with my giving up/adding in. Ideally, what I give up and add in shouldn’t be TERRIBLY hard (ie: I’m not giving up chocolate), but shouldn’t be a total cop-out either. It needs to be hard enough that I have to think about it and make a conscious effort; that is where the faith comes in – remembering why I am making a sacrifice, and all the faith and beliefs that connect to that at Lent.

I want to make an add-in to connect my One Little Word – TRY – to my faith, identity and new relationship with myself. I’m fairly certain that my “add-in” will be yoga. One of the larger studios in town is doing a workshop for beginners on Feb 16th, and then offers a good rate for unlimited classes afterwards. I could do the first 10 days at home with iTunes-downloaded yoga podcasts, and then the remaining days through them, going a certain number of times a week.

What I’m stuck on is what to “fast” on this year. Caffeine is doable, but I’ve done it SO many times that I don’t want to repeat this year; it would feel like a spiritual cop-out.

So I put it out to the internets to boss me around and make some suggestions. What should I give up for Lent?

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4 Responses to “Give up and Add in”

  1. I’m trying to figure out what to give up myself. I’m thinking about pop, but I’m wondering if that might just end up being unbearably difficult. Though I did give up caffeinated beverages a couple years ago, and that was the catalyst for all but giving up caffeine entirely. I don’t know…

  2. 2 twofifteenandgo

    Popular things to give up seem to be chocolate, caffiene, sugar, soda, candy, red meat and white bread. Restaurant eating would be good to refrain from if you go out twice a week or more. But then of course, why make it a food you avoid? Why not think about an activity or a habit that you ‘fast’ from? It seems like you’re a spirit of the word sort of person (instead of a letter of the word, a literal person) anyway, you may want to think about redefining a fast for yourself.

    I think if I were to give something up for Lent, it’d be movies in the evenings during the week. That would be enough of a sacrifice, and it would additionally free up time to reflect/meditate/soul-search/focus on why you’re ‘fasting’. That would be an important aspect.

  3. I would consider giving up something else entirely–like giving up allowing negative self-thoughts to have power. Then you have 40 days to focus on releasing those thoughts as they come–AND you get a new, healthy habit in the process.

    But any of the more concrete ideas are also good!


  1. 1 Making it Stick « Practice Living

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