Today, (ash Wednesday) marked the start of lent and I completely forgot. My overwhelming work schedule has had my mind preoccupied as of late, but thank God for friends. My girl E hit our group chat up with the early morning text and a Happy Ash Wednesday and I just had the stuck face like what was she talking about. Now I had to think about what to give up. I just gave up all alcohol for advent. How many times can you give up the same thing! Every year I briefly think about giving up a certain food group, like dairy or sweets and sugars. Or I try the "no-red-meat” diet, but if you’ve ever seen me in person, you'd tell me to avoid depriving myself of any nutrients and instead to double up on my food servings... So food as a sacrifice is out.
So clearly, I’m still clueless about what I’ll be giving up but I will be assigning a new sacrifice to this lent season. Regardless, I consider this often: it doesn't always have to be lent or advent for me to decide to make a sacrifice. When I fast, it’s to build my personal relationship with God. To repent, renew and reflect. But it’s also to reevaluate those things I think are really important in my life. Maybe it’s me giving up the liquor and rap music (or what my sanctified folks called the devil's juice and Satan's lyrics). Or maybe it’s me distancing myself from a trifling, gossiping friend that I'm better off without anyway. And when I just don't know what to take away anymore (because a tri-weekly glass of wine is just too relieving to do without), I think of what to add.
By "SACRIFICING" my free time and ADDING time to pray or reorganize my life, call up some old friends or talk to my parents more, I'm feeding my spirit person and adding goodness to my life. I never realize how much time I have in a day until I jam pack it with things to do and actually get it all done.
If you're not religious, think about what you could add to help someone else, like an act of community service or tudor a high school kid. Or about what you could give up to better who you are. My best friend Arielle gave up her obsession with ginger ale last year for lent. I mean this girl would drink it with every meal, right before bed, make her first steps out of the shower to the fridge and guzzle down the bottle, the whole 9. And now she functions just fine without having to drink it all of the time. It was all artificial-ginger-flavored-carbonated-sugar-water anyway.
It’s only 40 days.
Need an idea?
-Exercise multiple times a week
-Call your parents at least 1-2 times a week if you don’t live with them
-Give up soda
-Don’t eat out
-No TV (Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, the Showtime app is part of that. I know all of the tricks)
-No sex (death sentence?)
-Read a Bible scripture every night
-Go to bible study every week for Lent OR at least church
-Volunteer at a soup kitchen on weekends