“What are you giving up for Lent?”
It’s about that time of year when people start asking me this question. The habit of giving something up for Lent is a fine one, when done with intention. Giving up cookies or sweets, soda or beer, these undertakings should only be done if they are truly a problem for you. Self-denial is masochistic unless it has a purpose or a goal past itself.
In other words: if you’re going to give something up, do so only because it is inhibiting your ability to flourish.
But this year I think I’m going to just give up for Lent.
Because here’s a secret about me: I secretly, in my heart of hearts, still hold out hope that I can do it.
I hold out hope that I can achieve enough in this life to make it all worthwhile.
I hold out hope that I can, step by step, become better…only I don’t know what I mean by that.
I hold out hope that I can curry God’s favor, and yours, by doing this and not doing that. Whatever “that” is.
I hold out hope that I can secretly save myself, do it myself, sustain myself, rely only on my self.
I have to be honest about all of that.
So this year I’m going to give up for Lent. I’m going to give up all of that.
It’s interesting, and timely, that our Lenten devotional is entitled** “you are the way.” It’s all lowercase in the title, a humble way of writing something that takes humility to admit.
The God seen through Jesus invites us through grace to go ahead and give up in so many ways. Notice that it is not an invitation to apathy, and certainly not a gateway to depression or sadness or fear.
It is an invitation to honesty that says,
“Hey Beloved, you know all the ways that you’re trying to justify your existence and prove your worth in life? You can stop. You’re worth it. It is good you exist. It is by grace that you are made whole.”
So I’m going to give up for Lent.
How about you?
See you in church,
**Order the devotional anytime by clicking the link!