Giving Up For Lent?

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By Jeff Vamos / March 4, 2014

Lent is a time for confession, spiritual house-cleaning, getting real. So let’s start here: I’m a lousy blogger. I see that my last entry is from spring 2012! But what better time than the eve of Lent to get back into the swing. And, truth be told, I’m just dipping my toe in, since I’ve asked the rest of the church staff to join me in this re-blogging discipline. Each of us has committed to do just one entry per week during Lent. Seemed to us to be a reasonable goal. After that, we’ll see how it goes.

I hope you will join us in this new adventure. We will not be writing a lot, won’t necessarily be aiming at profundity, but our main deal is to try to engage  congregation members and others in conversation through this still-new-to-us medium (blogging). Every week, we will be posing a question about…what it means to be a Christian, how you think about God, where you find church…things like that. The main point is not really to admire our brilliant insights – but to prompt you to provide your own. Brilliant or otherwise. Our goal is to get people engaged in conversation.

I fully expect crickets after I launch this blog entry – well, I will be providing the first entry! But if you are one of the first brave souls to read this, perhaps your response will help us to build some momentum.

 What’s Your Lenten Game Plan?

So, for this new, first-in-quite-awhile entry, I will be sticking to something tried-and-true: to ask you about what one typically does during Lent, if one is even nominally a Christian. I mean, to DO something. A discipline, a giving up something, a taking on something new. Lent is a time to examine old, not-so-life-giving habits, and to try out some new habits. Many of us are doing some form of screen or electronic fast. Some are doing the typical giving up alcohol or sweets. Great!

Some are also making a renewed commitment to spiritual discipline. Why not start with our own, very carefully prepared Lenten spiritual guide, called Pathways? If you want further ideas, I wrote a blog entry a while back with a bunch more suggestions. Cool!

And some of you are doing nothing at all new, and feeling great about it – please tell us about that too!

I said that these entries would be brief – the goal here is to get YOU to join in the conversation. So please – take one line, or five paragraphs. But would love to know your plan.

2018-04-14T11:37:47+00:00March 4th, 2014|Blog--Lent, Pastor's Blog|


  1. Jeff Vamos March 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    So, as promised…My spiritual discipline this year for Lent. Of course, I will be participating in the Spiritual Pathways program, that our Adult Education team has brought to us – what a gift! I will be especially focusing on writing as a spiritual discipline, seeking to do one page of journaling per day.

    I am also planning to do two other simple things: one is giving up, the other is adding to (and by the way, one of our interns had a very catchy way of saying that, which I now forget).

    Giving up: watching TV alone. I have to confess that it’s really easy – and yes, enjoyable – to plop down before the idiot box after an evening meeting, and watch an episode of Chopped or Jeopardy (both of which I record on my DVR…). But I realize it’s a real waste of time! So – that goes.

    Adding to: I have been working on making a communion table for WiNK in my workshop – as an excuse to learn some new techniques in veneering, which I’ve never really done. My goal is to finish it by Easter. With all the time freed up by not watching TV!

  2. Michelle March 5, 2014 at 7:13 am - Reply

    I have been thinking long and hard on this topic and what would be something to give up that would be a struggle for me. I would have to say that there are many things I do that make feel like I am not being the best me I can be. So that being said after much thought, I have decided that I am giving up complaining or judging someone for this alone will make me a more well rounded person.

    And I am going to try to give up the junk food, (but being 37 weeks pregnant) that may be difficult for a couple weeks. 😉 I will do my best to limit my intake of all sweets or junk foods each to to only one portion if I do find myself craving it until the baby comes. Then it is no more sweets/junk food.

    And in following what Jeff has said about adding something else to round it all out. I will devote an hour a day to my writing to actually stop procrastinating and be more productive in my start up business and finishing my second novel for review. This will require will power, and not watching tv most of the evening after the kids go to bed. I am hoping for a revelation in just the first two things I am giving up because I would like to continue on to keep those things up in my daily life. To make me a better person all around.

  3. Cheryl McDonald March 5, 2014 at 7:20 am - Reply

    I look forward to reading the electronic version of the Lenten Devotional when it’s in my inbox. For me. it’s not about giving up something or adding something. It’s about a deeper devotion to God.

  4. Linda Madani March 5, 2014 at 7:26 am - Reply

    I really love the opportunity the Lenten season provides. A time to have personal reflection on your spiritual life and how you can improve on it yearly. This year I have been feeling the inactivitiy of my physical body weighing in and without your physical health @ its peak it can be differcult to take care of all the people in your life and yourself to the best you can. So, I have decided with God’s motivation and accountablitiy I am going to change my patterns and discipline my mental and physical self to take better phyical care of the body that God gave me. To remember that the main purpose of my physical body is to carry my soul. I want to learn to redirect my thinking to feed my body what it truely needs when it truly needs it. And to feed my soul with the Bread of Life- God!

  5. lorainehuchler March 5, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

    The prayer this morning while receiving ashes reminded me to cherish this life, knowing that someday I will die. My Lenten discipline is to be mindful about how to live – to nurture relationships with family and friends, to slow down, disconnect from the world each day and spend time connecting to God. What am I giving up? The sense of control and importance that comes from being busy; making “being” more important than “doing.”

  6. Louise Johnson March 5, 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

    I, too, am giving something up and adding something on. As I thought of this prospect, I decided that my choices should address body, mind and spirit. So I am giving up alcohol and taking on exercise three times each week; giving up playing mindless games on my phone when I am bored and taking on doing our Pathways to Spiritual Growth devotional guide during Lent. With God’s help, this Lenten time can be one of renewed physical health, new emotional/mental energy and focused spirituality.

  7. Matt Pigman March 5, 2014 at 11:09 am - Reply

    In the past, I’ve always focused on giving something up for Lent. This time I’ve decided to focus instead, on adding something: regular meditation. While, I’m no stranger to meditation, it’s more of something I do when I find the time, or feel particular need. I find it, however, to truly soothe my soul and give me more spiritual focus when I do it. So then… I’ve decided during this lent, I will MAKE time once a day. My hope is that it will then become a habit and a spiritual discipline.

  8. Bob Sinner March 5, 2014 at 11:27 am - Reply

    This Lenten season, following a truly dreary, tiring winter, leads me toward the light.

    Give up and pick up:

    1) Reading Michelle’s entry inspires me to attempt a similar goal: “giving up complaining” and being “judgmental.” Doing both “will make me a more well rounded person.” Those who know me at all know I am an arch pessimist. Not sure how to change that, but with God’s help, Faith will lead me closer to God and to “Joy.”

    2) And the quest for Joy brings me to do a close reading of CS Lewis’ “Surprised by Joy,” his early life conversion biography. Lewis was an academic atheist until he was called to be one of God’s inspiration writers. I want to immerse myself in the experience.

    • Jeff Vamos March 6, 2014 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Hope you let us know how you fare with that, Bob. It’s a great book! I’ve only read sections of it though – perhaps your discipline will inspire me to take it up too….

      • Bob Sinner March 7, 2014 at 8:46 am - Reply

        Will do.

  9. Nancy Allen March 5, 2014 at 11:33 am - Reply

    At the end of the worst winter ever (I’m declaring it officially over!), I’m grateful to God to be entering this season of Lent. I have learned through writing to look at the world through new eyes. During Lent, I plan to practice this type of mindfulness in the every day things in my life. I will be open to God “making all things new” in my life and will heal my body and spirit throough mindful eating, yoga, and meditation.


  10. Jerry Luckie March 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Lent, to me, has been such a time of spiritual growth on my faith walk. It is truly the time that calls forth something deep in my soul in terms of reflection, the desire to truly pay attention, to renew my desire to listen more and awaken to God’s presence in my life and in the world. I generally try to do two things, as others have said, both giving up and choosing to do something different (more). For several years, my grown sons and I pick some type of service project we all can agree on and work together on the project. We’ve selected one and are excited to see God speaks to us through the experience. I’ve committed to be more diligent in my spiritual writing and to focus on the spiritual disciples of solitude and prayer, specifically practicing different types of prayer to deepen my spiritual life. As for giving up: this is the first time I’ll be fasting on the Lenten journey.

  11. erin March 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    I’m giving up Diet Coke. It’s my crack and I drink WAY TOO much of it each day. It’s super unhealthy. It’s a big ole waste of money, $1.50 at a time. So, I’m taking the money I normally spend on my carbonation addiction and putting it towards local charities instead. I’m tracking every time I want a soda and putting a dollar into a piggy bank. I’m not even 24 hours into Lent and I’ve already got 2 bucks in there.

  12. Nancy March 6, 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I gave up giving up years ago, and tried to make a more positive impact on something – the world, my world, myself, whatever. I am in the throes of an intense regimen that has me working out 5x/wk – I’ve been doing this for 8 weeks, and the scale has not budged. I will admit to seeing changes and feeling better, but let’s face it, we all like to see the numbers change! I have also recently taken on a conscious effort to put on a happy face even when the heart doesn’t feel it. Both of these efforts, while intended to make things better, can be somewhat wearing. On Tuesday night, reflecting on Lent, I pulled my Bible off the shelf looking for direction and said (somewhat out loud) “Bring it, Lord!” I opened to Sirach 30:18-25!! For those that don’t know, that section is subtitled “Concerning Foods”! And it told me to rejoice and have a joyful heart! So this Lent, every single day, I will rejoice in something — whether it is this body that carries my soul and the amazing things it can (and does) do, or the little things around me. I will remember to truly rejoice and have joy in my heart, and hopefully to really mean the smile on my face!

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