This being Ash Wednesday and reading lots of posts on my Facebook regarding what people are "giving up", I just had to post a few thoughts on Lent and what it means to me to prepare for the Easter season.
I've decided not to give anything up for Lent. This is why. In the past when I have given something up for Lent, I stay focused on what I've given up, fighting whatever urges I have to give in, feeling like a loser if I give in. Basically it's all me, me, me. I actually don't get better as a person, to be honest.
So this year I'm not giving anything up. I'm going to add something to my life that I think will truly help me become more like Jesus. This year for Lent I'm going to focus on gratitude, appreciation, encouragement, and not worry about keeping a promise to give something up. This year for Lent, I'm going to send a note of gratitude, appreciation, or encouragement to someone in my life each day leading to Easter.
The whole idea of a Lenten practice, as I understand it, is to open my life more fully to God, to become more like Christ. There are few things in my life that connect me to God like a spirit of gratitude. When I realize I'm thankful, I realize there is Someone to whom I am thankful. The essence of Christ's life seems to be to have been love, sheer love. As I engage in my practice, I will be living in love, open to God.
So I'm not giving something up. I'm adding something meaningful to me. I am curious what will happen.