Monday, March 07, 2011

What I'm NOT giving up for Lent

It seems rather popular now to start announcing the various things that people are giving up for Lent. Here is a list of things I will not be giving up starting this Ash Wednesday.


Coffee. Even if I somehow thought that the absence of coffee in my life would equal a greater spiritual awakening, I just don't know if it's really worth giving up something so sweet and delicious. I'm fairly sure - though not completely certain - that my body could handle cutting caffeine cold turkey. But even if my body survived the sudden chemical imbalance I would still miss the sweet smell, the warmth of a fresh cup, the coolness of whipped cream on my lips, and the satisfaction of a decent caffeine buzz.

Facebook. I could be completely cliché and give up Facebook. Just like everyone else. But let's be honest, I would still be checking up secretly from my iPad and getting email updates to my phone all the time. Just like everyone else.

Television. Alright, there are a few problems with this one. First of all, my parents were very generous and just recently bought me a decently sized flat screen TV and I am very proud of it and plan on using it as much as possible. Second of all, I only get one channel! I'm not really sure that giving up reruns from the 1960's really underscores the spirit behind the Lenten season.

Sugar. OK, so here's the first viable candidate for something to sacrifice for forty days. It's like a diet with a spiritual excuse. I could probably lose a good amount of weight just by cutting down on sugar alone. It's not like I haven't done it before. In fact, I once went 9 months solid on the infamous Atkins diet, limiting my carbohydrate intake to less than 20 grams a day. So I know I'm totally capable of it. Plus, too much sugar gives me gas. That right there is reason enough, right?


So maybe my intentions are not quite so pure but that's just my own personal problem with Lent. I think it's a great practice for those who are sincere in sacrificing in preparation to observe the sacrifice of Christ and his resurrection celebrated through Easter. I've just never been so intrigued by it. And maybe some day I'll feel compelled to participate. Just not this year.

Alright, so I feel a little better getting that off my chest. In fact, I'm willing to entertain the idea of actually sacrificing something for forty days. But let's take it to a vote: What do you think I need to give up for Lent?


Abby Gayle said...

I love this blog post. My list of things I'm NOT giving up is a lot longer then yours though. Lol. I think for Lent you should give up Enid for 40 days and come see me! I miss you! :)

dorothy said...

There's always the option of adding instead of subtracting. Like trying to do something nice once a week for someone who annoys you.

Leslee said...

Honestly Eric, I don't think you should give up anything for Lent. Lent isn't practiced by our church and would probably be pretty meaningless for you. The church I attended before EFA did things a little different and followed the Christian Calendar so we did observe the different seasons such as Lent and Advent. That is where I picked up my habit of sacrificing for 40 days.

I could go into all the reasons why I've chosen to be cliché, but I won't. They don't matter to you, only to me. Because the sacrifice of Lent is personal, between you and God. I hope if you do decide to give something up for Lent you do it because you want to grow in your relationship with God and not just because you want something to whine and blog about. :)

P.S. I like your friend Dorthy's idea.

Eric Castillo said...

Wow, didn't expect so many responses by morning for a midnight posting. Thanks!

@abby - I definitely need to visit Tulsa ASAP! I'm working on it...

@dorothy - I actually considered the idea of being proactive over sacrifice while I was writing this post. Just didn't have time to fit it all in.

@leslee - I agree, I probably won't be giving up anything and I'm not knocking anyone that does. I'm taking my cue from 1 Samuel 15:22 - obedience is greater than sacrifice. So I like Dorothy's suggestion, too.

Melodie said...

I'm with you, Eric. I don't do anything special for Lent, but I did not grow up in that tradition, so for me, it doesn't have the same meaning as it does for some. That being said, I think you are spot on about some people's motives not being quite sincere. But there are lots of traditions that people just go through the motions for, aren't there? ;-)

So, I propose a new idea for you...if you are so inclined: set a time period...say, a week, and spend a few minutes a day thinking about something you love/enjoy in this world. Write about it privately, (because you'll filter it if you share). You can dwell on things that you enjoy about the world (like new ketchup packets and coffee), things that you enjoy about people you know, things you enjoy about yourself (seriously, this is a subject that deserves some probing for all of us). Then, say a quick thanks to your Father for giving you that joy. It shifts the focus from deprivation to appreciation. Granted, it could still be considered cliche', but if you don't tell anyone about it, we won't even be able to say you're being hypocritical. ;0)

Eric Castillo said...

@melody - Great suggestion. I do feel God leading me more in the proactive direction. We'll see what I decide. I'm just glad this has sparked a little discussion to get people to take a second look at Lent.

Anonymous said...

Too much sugar gives you gas? Haha