Spritual view: What could you ‘give up’ for Lent?

PUBLISHED: 08:30 02 March 2019

Elwin Cockett

What would you give up doing if you could? Maybe you’d like to give up work (or school/college)? Or maybe travelling on crowded buses and tube trains? Or the rut you’ve got yourself into in your relationships with other people?

Most of us have things in our lives that we would like to change, and the perfect opportunity to do so starts next Wednesday, March 6.

That’s “Ash” Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, a time when people traditionally “give up” things for a while before the great celebration of Easter. The day before, Shrove Tuesday, is known in some places as Mardi Gras – literally “fat Tuesday” – when richer foods are used up before Lent.

Now, you might already know what you want to give up, but here’s a challenge: As well as stopping things that are unhealthy or unhelpful to you, how about thinking of things that you could START doing that would be positive for you and for other people?

They might be as simple as deciding to go for a walk each day, which soon becomes a very positive habit that you will want to keep up. Or it might be making a change to what you eat or drink, or the way you relate to someone who you find it hard to get on with.

Some people I know have decided this year to create food boxes during Lent. They’re each going to get a box and add one item of food – say, a tin of beans or a packet of rice – each day, so that by the end of Lent they will have a generous donation to give to their local food bank. Adding one thing every day, rather than just going out and buying 40 items, is a great way of reminding themselves daily to think not only about their own needs but also about the needs of others.

The key thing for us all, whatever we’re doing, is that this is a great time of year to be making positive choices that will make life better for you and for others, whatever else 2019 brings.

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