I've been having trouble deciding what to give up for Lent this year. The last couple of years I've given up chocolate, which is sooo hard. I was ready to do the same thing this year, but this year it just didn't feel right. Maybe this was just the chocoholic part of me talking, but for some reason, chocolate just didn't seem like the right thing to do. I won't say that giving up chocolate had gotten too easy, but I kinda felt that it had lost some of its meaning.

I always thought that the point of Lent is to sacrifice something that you like so that it reminds you of God's sacrifice. Then, every time you miss whatever you've given up, you instead thank God for His sacrifice to you. Giving up chocolate accomplished that goal, but I get the feeling that God is pushing me in another direction. Lent could mean more.

So I went on a hunt for something else. Instead of chocolate, I was going to give up the radio on the way into work in the morning. The idea is to use that silence for prayer instead of singing along with the radio. I figured that was something that would really strengthen my relationship with God. Then I was randomly selected to participate in a week long radio survey. All this week, I'm writing down whenever I listen to the radio. True, I could have just sent their radio diary back blank with the note that I'd given up radio for Lent, but the timing was just a little too coincidental. Giving up the radio was not what God had in mind.

I saw a commercial for Cheerios where a guy was eating Cheerios every day for 6 weeks to lower his cholesterol. It just so happens that according to my health day assault, my bad cholesterol is a little high. And it just so happens that Lent is 6 weeks long. It seems like a good idea, and I probably need to do something to watch my cholesterol levels, but eating Cheerios would be for health, not for God. On to something else.

I started looking to the Internet, and came across a site that says that instead of chocolate and sweets or cokes or beer or pizza, people should focus on giving up the things that they do that hurt people around them. (The example that the author gave what that she's trying to give up being late. She realized that when she's late everywhere, her friends have to wait on her and it puts a damper on the whole evening. They get annoyed, and she feels guilty. So for the next 6 weeks, she's shooting for being everywhere 15 minutes early, and when she gets somewhere, she's making a note in a diary about what she did to make her on time, or what happened that made her late. Then she's going to focus on avoiding those things that made her late). Fixing a fault seemed to be on the right track, but I generally don't have a problem with tardiness, so I needed to find something else.

I found another website that suggested going in another direction. Instead of something physical, try giving up complaining and instead focusing on gratitude. Or giving up bitterness and focusing on forgiveness. Or giving up worry and focusing on trust. The website also has scripture to support each of the things you should give up. As soon as I saw it, an angel smacked me in the forehead and said, "There you go!" I think I'm going to give up complaining and instead be grateful,

Philippians 2:14&15 – Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

and giving up gossip

Psalm 34:13 – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
Proverbs 21:23 – He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.

I have a feeling that I do both of these things more than I realize. So from here on out, until Easter (and beyond) I will not complain and I will not gossip. I will be happy and thankful in all my circumstances, and I will say only good things about others.

And maybe I'll do the Cheerios thing too, just for good measure.


Mary said...

Hi Beth! I wanted to thank you for this post! I don't know if Tony told you, but this post spoke to me at a time when I needed it. My boss is dating my ex bf which is just disgusting and I was so ready to go in and tell my sr mgr and make a big stink,but then I read your post and realized I need to keep my mouth shut. And what I should be focusing on is the fact that God knew I would need a change before I did and gave me the opportunity for a new job, and be thankful for that. So I really appreciate the post! It was literally a little God wink.

Melissa~ said...

Okay, I'm reading your posts in reverse order. I don't know why.

So, I have realized I tend to be a complainer too. *ugh* I mean I don't do it on purpose, but, yeah, I do it.

That's why I like blogging because I can "take it back" when I complain before anyone but the Lord and me sees it...*LOL*...

I am working on that too.

And by the way, can I just tell you what an honor I think it is to be on your short list of favorite blogs??!!

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