Many people, regardless of whether they are devoutly religious or not, chose to eliminate a bad habit from their life for the Lenten season. Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday. I have been thinking about the concept of “giving up” something for Lent and what exactly that means.
Many people elect to forego either a bad habit (smoking, drinking, excessive shopping) or eating some food that they feel is detrimental to their health (chocolate, red meat, sweets, etc.). These are all admirable habits to change. Many years ago, however, I read an article that changed my viewpoint on “Lenten fasting” for good. It suggested that the aforementioned things are easy to eliminate for 40 days. The challenge is to give up things that are much more challenging. Give up: gossip, worry, lying, cheating, regret, envy, inattentiveness just to name a few.
Let’s take that a step further. Wouldn’t we all be better off if our goal were to eliminate these and other things like them from our lives not just for 40 days but for good? Instead of thinking about what we are “giving up” think about what you are adding: better interpersonal relationships, more time for meditation and self-reflection, emphasis on the spiritual instead of the material, the opportunity to see others only the best that they have to offer just to name a few.
I will admit, that in an effort to cure (or at least diminish) my sugar addiction I will indeed eliminate candy and sweets from my diet for the Lenten season. I am not ashamed to tell you that this commitment has resulted in my eating sugar like it’s “Fat Tuesday” for about a week now. Darn that blasted Valentine’s Day and the 1/2 price candy that follows!! I am working on the last obstacle to fully obtaining the body I desire and I know that my sugar diet is the hindrance, so I look forward to a stated reason for me to stop (oh don’t read it and give me that look! You do know that will power decreases as you get older don’t you? So the fact that I am now 36 instead of 21 is catching up with me. LOL!! Whaaaaaat?!?!)
At any rate, the sugar is just the beginning. I have embarked on an A Cup of Cheer project that already requires more introspection, concentration and down/quiet time. What a wonderful time to add : seeing everyone for their best, judging only myself, spending daily time in communication with the spirit, and getting adequate rest to my life regimen. Not for 40 days either- this is a life commitment. I will add more things next year. I will look forward to Lent every year from here on out as a time to add more to my life. The time for “giving up” is up. Enjoy the season. Let me know what you will add for this year. Let’s encourage each other to stick with the commitment well past the Easter weekend.
Spread love…peace and blessings.