Giving Up Me for Lent?
Lent approaches (Wednesday, the 13th for those who aren’t following along) and many–but certainly not all–Christians will be deciding what to give up.
Many will follow the historic practice of the Church and give up animal products (meat, eggs, dairy, etc.) Others will follow the contemporary practice of the Church and give up something they like (chocolate, soda, alcohol, tobacco, etc.) Still others will follow a more recent, yet popular, practice of giving up something that distracts them (television, Facebook, the internet, etc.)
N.T. Wright, in one of his many good books on the Christian life (Simply Christian, maybe) mentions that Lent is a season of death, therefore we give up something. Easter follows as a season of new life and new creation, so we should take up something–something new and good.
It is not my intention to come across as smug, overly pious, or prideful–but I realize that what I am about to say is all of those things and contradicts the very thing I am intending to do–yet I hope to give readers something to consider for their own Lenten practices this year.
A friend recently shared Andrew Murray’s Humility with me. Then, I re-read C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Then, my pastor preached on humility and pride. Then, well you get the idea. Each of these books or sermons deals directly with humility and pride. It may just be that God is trying to tell me something. Thus, I’ve decided to give up myself for Lent. I don’t know if this is a legitimate thing to fast from during Lent–historically anyway–but it is my plan. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, I am giving up myself. I will strive to not tell any stories about myself, not to “out-do” anyone else. Just listen. Just ask questions about them. Just be interested in them. Just care about who they are. I’m not going to tell people how great I am, and I’m not going to tell people how despicable I am–both are cases of pride, although we often try to convince ourselves the latter is humility when it is not.
Whatever your view of Lent is, whatever your view of fasting is, I’m sure you agree that pride is a great evil for Christians and humility is a great weakness for many. Pray for me, that the Lord would have mercy. That I might give up myself for Lent.
I’d rather hope that I can ask this question without it turning into a competition to out-holy one another. So, if you are practicing Lent this year, what are you giving up?