What are you giving up for Lent?

What are you giving up for Lent?

Lent is the time of year everyone starts talking about penitence, fasting, preparation and sacrifice.

OK I get it. Introspection and self-examination are important but why does it all have to seem so dark and gloomy?

What’s more I’m not sure giving up vices and indulgences for a short period of time qualifies as sacrificial. (I’ve actually heard people vowing to give up mocha latte’s, filet mignon and Prada accessories. Seriously?)

What would happen if we tempered our sacrificial piety and “gave up” some of the attitudes we cling to. Now that would be sacrifice, but it might prepare us to look forward to the joyful promise of His Resurrection.

If we give God our anger He will replace it with love.

If we give Him our desperation we can be filled with hope.

What it we turned loose our prejudice? Could it be replaced with peace?

If we give up our fears will we be open to calm confidence and living with abundant joy?

If we quit clinging to our traditions will we be able to envision a brighter future?

What if we release our vanity and self-reliance. Might God replace them with a growing faith?

“Back in the day,” a group of my students decided they wanted to develop a “team logo” for their polo shirts. (It really was a long time ago.) On the crest they placed the first half of their motto: “Excellence is not an option.” The counter point to that statement appeared on their shirt sleeves: “It is a way of life.”

What might happen if our Christianity ceased being an option and truly became a way of life?

As we enter this Lenten season I pray we become instruments finely shaped and tuned to amplify Christ’s image in all we do.