Arnold is stood on a rock against a view of trees and cloudy sky

What do you usually give up for Lent? Is this even a tradition you usually partake in?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (22 February 2023) and lasts until Easter Sunday (9 April 2023). It is a season of anticipation and preparation for celebrating Easter, and remembering how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness before the start of his ministry on Earth. Traditionally, it is a time dedicated to prayer, fasting, studying scripture, confession and generally growing closer to God.

It is also very common to see people choosing something to give up for Lent. For Christians, this is a way for us to remember Jesus’ time in the wilderness. Giving up something we enjoy or love, overcoming those temptations, and ideally using this as an opportunity to replace whatever we give up for Lent with something that brings us closer to God.

What should you give up for Lent?

1. Reflect

Take the time to reflect on the following questions and think about what things stand out to you:

  • What is taking up too much time in your life?
  • What are you constantly thinking about?
  • What distracts you from spending time with God?
  • Is there anything that feels more important than God in your life?

2. Pray

Whatever we choose to give up for Lent, we want to be led by God. Ask God to reveal to you what you should give up. The things that he wants you to step away from during this season. Take the time to listen for God’s voice, and his direction as you make this decision.

3. Choose what to give up for Lent

Has anything come to mind for you? Here are some ideas for things that you could give up for Lent this year:

  • Watching TV, Netflix or YouTube
  • Having lie-ins
  • Alcohol or caffeine
  • Social media
  • Online shopping
  • Phone games
  • Make-up or an extensive “getting ready” routine

4. Things to think about

I recommend only giving up certain food items if you already have a healthy relationship with food, and as long as you are still able to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. If you have any health issues that involve food, weight or eating at all, I would also check with your doctor before you give it up for Lent.

The things that we give up for Lent, are not inherently bad. We choose to give up something so that we can dedicate more time to God during this season.

I don’t think giving up something sinful for Lent is a good idea. The idea of Lent is that we give it up for this season, to make the most of this time. But we also know that we can start doing it again after the end of Lent. If we know that something is sinful, we should repent of it immediately and turn away from it completely, not just for Lent. This could include commonly suggested things to give up, such as gossip, and lying.

5. What will you replace it with?

Personally, I think an important part of what you give up for Lent, is what you are going to replace it with. As well as giving something up, we want to use this season to spend more time with God.

Some things you could do in replacement of the thing you give up:

  • Pray!
  • Sing worship songs
  • Read a chapter of the Bible
  • Volunteer at your church
  • Serve your neighbours
  • Memorise a Bible passage
  • Read a Christian book
  • Listen to a Christian podcast or sermon

What are you going to give up for Lent this year? And what are you going to replace it with? Let us know down in the comments!

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