Giving Up & Taking On for Lent 2017

     First of all, I would like to apologize for my little blogging hiatus last week, I had my blog/blog Instagram taken away for the week as a punishment for my irresponsibility (oops,) but I’m back!  Today I’m talking about something a little different than usual; Lent, which begins today.

     If you’re a Christian, especially of a more traditional denomination like Episcopalian, Catholic, Lutheran, etc., you’ve probably at least heard of Lent.  Lent is the observance of Jesus Christ’s forty days and forty nights of fasting in the desert shortly before he was crucified.  In today’s world, many Christians observe this time by giving up something they eat or use a lot that might not be the best thing in the world for them, like soda, social media, TV, etc., or taking on something new, like reading the Bible more, donating to a charity, or praying more everyday, for the forty days leading up to Easter.

     I’m an Episcopalian and I began actually committing to giving something up when I was in seventh grade.  Since then, I’ve given up ice cream, wrapped chocolate (candy bars, Dove chocolates, and any other prewrapped chocolate product you can think of, which allowed me to continue to eat baked chocolate goods like chocolate chip cookies, brownies, etc.) and chocolate altogether.  This year, I’m completely giving up chocolate again and taking on a Bible reading challenge with one of my YoungLife leaders and a few friends.  You might be wondering why this is my third year giving up chocolate.  If you know me personally, you’d know I’m addicted to chocolate, so much that I don’t even realize how much I eat it.  Chocolate cereal in the mornings, Dove chocolates in my lunch, a chocolate Special K protein bar before lacrosse practice, a few dark chocolate Hershey kisses after practice before dinner, chocolate ice cream after dinner… I think you get the point.  That being said, it’s really hard for me to give that up for forty days, so I think it’s a legitimate challenge each year and honestly one of the hardest things for me to give up.

     Even though I have such a hard time giving up chocolate, I know seeing a friend eat chocolate at lunch is nowhere near the temptation that Jesus faced during his forty days and forty nights of fasting in the wilderness.  The devil tempted him with power over the world at the cost of worshipping him, but Jesus refused.  When I want chocolate, I am reminded of Jesus’ temptation and his overcoming of it.  If Jesus can overcome the devil, I can certainly pass on a candy bar.

     I am also excited to begin reading the Bible more often.  I used to read the number of verses I am years old (eleven verses each day when I was eleven, twelve verses each day when I was twelve, thirteen verses each day when I was thirteen, and so forth) but I stopped in the beginning of 2016 as I became so busy I unfortunately didn’t find time for it because I didn’t prioritize it enough.  I know “I didn’t have time” is no excuse, and I feel awful for letting that commitment slip away.  I can’t wait to spend more time in scripture again!

     I encourage you to give up something or take on a good deed during Lent.  You don’t necessarily have to give up your phone or favorite food, but maybe something like sweet tea, Pinterest, coffee, or a Netflix show you’re hooked on.  I’ve found it to be a great reminder of my faith in my daily life and I feel like it brings me closer to God.  If you’d like to learn more about Jesus’ forty days and forty nights in the desert, I recommend reading Matthew 4:1-11 (here’s a link to the verses in NIV).

Thanks for reading!  If you’re giving up or taking something on for Lent leave a comment and let me know what it is!

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P.S. – If you haven’t noticed, I added “Christianity” under the “Lifestyle” tab on the menu that appears at the top of my blog.  There you can read my Scripture Sunday posts, posts about YoungLife, and all of the faith-based posts to come in the future.  I’m so excited to be including my faith as a greater element to my blog and I hope you like it!

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