There has been a lot of talk around our house the last couple of days about giving things up. I’ve read Facebook posts by many friends extolling the giving up of bad habits, cravings, and addictions. This morning, I read a blog post about an endeavor called “40 Bags in 40 Days” in which participants pledge to declutter every day for 40 days. The decluttering can be of everything from closets to email inboxes. The key is to get rid of unwanted and unneeded “stuff.”
I’m sure each one of us can name something in our lives worth giving up for 40 days, or perhaps forever. My prayers go out to my brother-in-law who is giving up smoking. Many know what a cross that is to bear, so I’m sure prayers would be greatly appreciated, which brings me to a question I have always asked myself. Is it better to give something up or do something new spiritually? I’ve struggled with this over the years. The whole concept of giving things up is completely lost on me unless there is a real reason to do so. Giving things up just to herald that you’ve done so just doesn’t seem to be the point of all of this. I heard a priest, who has a radio show, say recently that when you give something up, you should use that extra time, money, space, etc. to do something good, help others, give to the poor, or otherwise allow someone else to benefit from your sacrifice. And that’s really the key isn’t it? Sacrifice. We aren’t supposed to be trying to lose weight or have a cleaner closet. The point is to sacrifice, to rid ourselves of the things that are making us unworthy in the eyes of God.
So, yes, I will be giving things up this year, and yes, they will be the regular things you’d expect – sweets and wine. However, I’m going to take it a step further. I’m giving up all restaurant food except for salad (a huge sacrifice since we tend to eat out more than the normal family). What I’ve struggled with is how to make that into something spiritual that benefits others around me. What have I come up with? I will find the one thing on the menu that I want more than anything else, note the cost, and donate that amount to a good cause. It may be an extra drop in the basket at church or a donation to Feed the Poor. Whatever it is, I know that my sacrifice will be helping someone else and hopefully will help me in my journey home.
What are you giving up for Lent?
Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.
http://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com