What Are You Giving Up?

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent starts, so you need to get cracking and plan your binge today. My daughter has been wanting to make a Molten Lava Cake which is when you have warm gooey chocolate erupting from inside a moist, chocolate cake. Now if that doesn’t scream,


"eat-me-until-you-fall-into-a-coma-with-your-pants-unbuttoned-in-a-fetal-position," I don’t know what will. Then while you’re lying there wondering if you should vomit or simply pass out, you can plan your Lenten Fast.   

Although I haven’t been to mass in years (I’ll save that for another post) I do like giving up something for lent. Although Lent isn’t only a Catholic tradition, I don’t remember focusing on it when I was Presbyterian or Methodist or a Central Assembly Of God gal. I’m pretty sure my having to "give something up" coincided to the time when I could wear jeans to church, which means, when I was Catholic. I think lots of Christians give up shit for Lent, but when you’re Catholic, Lent is a big deal. Besides following a self-determined abstinence program, you get ashes on Ash Wednesday and don’t eat meat on Fridays. 

As a teenager I would give up something like candy or potato chips or try not to swear but I never used it as a time to reflect or pray more. Truly that is the purpose of Lent, to imitate Christ’s 40 days of fasting, prayer and meditation, doing those three either in the way your church dictates or a way that resonates with you.

For example, your fast should honor the diet that keeps you healthy rather than being heroic to prove your allegiance to your religion. You also should not make a big deal about your sacrifice. So what if you’re giving up sugar, lots of people avoid that substance. Give up sugar because by taking away an extreme food you can be more balanced and present spiritually for the next few weeks, not to mock your friends and point a condescending finger at them for eating pie. 

Other’s give up a pastime they love like watching television, surfing the Internet or reading and use that time to be in service, either to their homes and family or the community at large. If you find that you spend too much time in a particular area of your life, consider fasting from that for the next month and see how you feel.

I think this year I’ll simply eat a pure diet during Lent. Avoid refined grains and sugars and focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean forms of protein. Give my body a good cleansing as spring (and bathing suit season) approaches.  I’m not going to lie. Lent is usually the time of year that instead of expanding my spiritual horizons I focus on NOT expanding my waistband, but I think that this year, I’m going to change my focus. Rather than weighing myself or documenting the changing circumference of my arms and thighs, I’m going to use the dietary change as a way to do deeper spiritually as well.

So instead of going to Access Hollywood’s web site to see if there are more pictures of Britney’s bald head or watching Entertainment Tonight just in case they get an exclusive interview with the mortuary assistant that did Anna Nicole’s postmortem make-up, I’ll do more yoga, meditate and pray. Hell, if 24 and Grey’s Anatomy were in re-runs, I’d give up TV altogether. Maybe I can give up daytime television and only turn it on at night when a must watch show is airing?  I’m also not sure if I want to keep a separate journal of this spiritual journey or post all of my insights here, on-line. I’ll have to fine tune the details tomorrow when I’m close to death from my sugar high.

Regardless, if you want to jump on this bandwagon with me, you have less than 48 hours. Figure out what you’d like to accomplish and use the Lenten season to jump start a new you. If you need some type of accountability system, leave a comment stating what you’re going to give up for all to read to help keep you focused and on track.

Good luck! 

(If you’d like to learn more about Lent in general, check out this web site that explains it much better than I could.) 


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