Giving Up. Taking Up.

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It’s time to diet! I mean LENT. IT’S LENT!

Every year I joke (but not) about people giving up some food item for the “sake of Lent” and to “share in the sufferings of Christ” but we all know secret ambitions of weight loss are rooted deep! Ok ok…some people are the exception. Yaddah yah…

Let’s talk real things to give up. I recently read this article that gave a great list of suggestions. Some of my favorites on that list…

  • Worry.
  • Excuses.
  • Fear.
  • Sense of entitlement.
  • Envy.
  • Comparison.

What if we gave up those things instead of that piece of chocolate? I mean if chocolate (or time on Facebook, soda, etc) really has a stronghold over your life…by all means…give.it.up.

But worry? Sense of entitlement? Fear of what others think? Ah, now we are talking! Those are things that entangle my soul more than a square of dark chocolate.

And this whole idea of “giving up” something for lent…what if we “took up” instead?

I give up worry and replace it with remembering moments of God’s faithfulness in the past.

I give up entitlement and make a list of undeserved blessings.

I give up the fear of what others think and lean in closely to hear God’s voice for validation and direction.

The days between Ash Wednesday and Easter are supposed to be an intentional journey–not just self-denial of a luxury but dedication to seek, pray, and grow spiritually.

I’ve never been more excited for Lent! Yes, I am giving up something physical but beyond the physical representation, I’m responding to a call for an inward journey. I’m “giving up” a little personal free time and “taking up” the invitation to go deeper in my faith. I have high hopes for the reading I’m “taking up” (The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila”) and the writing I’ll be doing. What a sacred journey this could be!

So instead of telling people what you’re giving up for Lent, what are you taking up?

Will you meet us

in the ashes

will you meet us

in the ache

and show your face

within our sorrow

and offer us

your word of grace?

-Jan Richardson

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