Vickie Fee

Giving It Up For Lent

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the all-you-can-eat buffet of calories, as well as any bad habits we’ve been clinging to. This is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Today many of us fast, abstain from meat, get ashes crossed on our foreheads and kick off a season of reflection and a spring-cleaning of the mind and soul.

A bit of trivia: Lent is 40 days, if you subtract the six Sundays between now and Easter. Just long enough to wean ourselves from a bad habit or develop a good habit. I have to admit, I’ve been a little overly ambitious some years with little to show for it. One year I pledged to give up chocolate. That didn’t last long. One year I tried to give up coffee. That effort bit the dust even more quickly than the chocolate fast. My efforts to avoid caffeine really turn out to be more of a penance for everyone around me anyway, since I get pretty cranky without my coffee. I’ve given up putting milk in my coffee before. But honestly, that seemed pretty lame as “sacrifices” go.

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Other things that sound like a good thing to give up, but I know I’ll never stick with, include Facebook and my favorite TV show. One year I didn’t watch my fave TV program during Lent. But then I binge watched it after Easter. So, that wasn’t really so much a giving up as a delayed gratification. It was still interjecting a bit of discipline, I suppose.

I admire the people who make grand gestures for Lent. The ones who completely give up watching television for more than five weeks. The people who do a complete bread and water fast one or two days a week – stuff like that. In fact, I maybe even harbor a tiny bit of envy toward people like this. But, I’ve found I have more success adding a good work or two, rather than trying to give up my bad habits.

It’s actually bad form to brag about what we’re doing for Lent. So I’ve got a couple of things on my list I’m not going to mention. But I am going to share one thing, by way of suggestion, in case anyone is still trying to decide on something. I’m going to try to perform one small kindness every day during Lent. This will help me become a better person and make the world a little bit nicer place to live in at the same time.

And I’m going to resist the temptation to tell anyone about my specific little acts of kindness, and just keep them to myself. In fact, as often as possible, I’ll try to arrange it so even the person I’m performing the kindness for doesn’t know who it came from. An extra dose of humility couldn’t hurt me any.

Readers, have you ever had any luck giving up a bad habit, during Lent or otherwise? What’s a good habit you’d like to develop? Please share in comments.

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25 thoughts on “Giving It Up For Lent

  1. I am doing several little thing for lent this year, too. The biggest is cutting out most red meat, making more vegetarian based meals, and using some of the money saved by not buying yummy filet mignon on more humanely raised meats and fish. Of course, that meant last night I went to my favorite steakhouse for a big, juicy burger–ground fresh daily. Hopefully, that will hold me for a while. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Susi, I routinely eat a couple of meatless meals a week — not just during Lent. But, on days I’m not supposed to have meat, like today, it feels like I’m being deprived somehow!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to be a rebel and not give up anything. Instead I make an effort to be just a little nicer, go out of my way to help someone, maybe just say a silent prayer for someone that I don’t know or normally wouldn’t give the time of day to. It seems counter-productive to give stuff up, it just never worked (only in grade school when the nuns used to *make* you give up stuff LOL)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Kellye! I’m generally kinder AFTER I’ve had some coffee! I try to avoid interacting with people before then — as a small kindness 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never tried giving anything up for Lent. Considering my back luck with New Year’s Resolutions, I know how that would go. I need self-discipline in my life stat!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Me, too, Mark! Hope springs eternal. By the time Ash Wednesday rolls around, I’ve already broken most/all of my New Year’s resolutions — and yet I’m optimistic enough to believe I can succeed with my Lenten resolutions!

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  4. In college I had a guy friend who gave up beer and “dating” for Lent. Except for the weekly Sunday respites starting at midnight. He insisted that was a real thing from Vatican 2 (???). Mostly, tho, I remember those year-round Friday fish days in the school cafeterias, summer camps, and restaurants. Ugh, Ugh, UGH. No problem fasting there on my part. Later, my pious kids pointed out that cheese pizza was the perfect solution.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lisa, I think your friend may have misunderstood the spirit of Vatican II! But, technically Sunday’s (which are feast days) aren’t part of Lent. So some people give up sweets all week and have cookies on Sunday. Does that mean I don’t have to be kind on Sundays?!

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  5. I come from a not very religious family. We only visit church for ‘Hatched’, ‘Matched’ and ‘Dispatched’.
    The only thing I look forward to this time of the year, is Shrove Tuesday, pancake day!
    I view Lent, like I view News Years resolutions…you might manage a week, then it’s all out of the window!
    I like your idea of act of kindness every day during Lent. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a spotty record with New Year’s and Lenten resolutions! But I agree with you, Ian, on the pancakes. In fact, pancakes are a good idea any time of year!

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