At this time of year, one sometimes hears people talking about giving something up for Lent. Catholics traditionally gave up eating meat and lived a generally less self-indulgent life during this time, which accounts for all the excesses of Carnivale or Mardi Gras, as folks ate up all the goodies before the beginning of the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday.
The English word Lent is simply a shortened form of the Old English word lencten, meaning spring season, however Lent, the time between Ash Wednesday and the Saturday before Easter, is often considered by Christians as a time of preparation and an opportunity to go deeper with God.
This is a time for personal reflection that prepares people’s hearts and minds for Good Friday and Easter as we consider the unimaginable suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion in order to give us the joy of the resurrection and all it means.
Giving something up for Lent is our feeble attempt to share in Christ’s sacrifice.
While giving up meat, chocolate, or some other daily treat can be a real sacrifice for some people, I’ve been thinking that in today’s chaotic and uncertain climate, I might try to give up something more meaningful. I’m going to try to give up fear, anxiety, anger, and resentment… handing it all to God and trusting Him to take care of all these circumstances I cannot change.
Taking a few weeks off from some physical indulgence can be hard. Giving up my sense of control will be harder still unless I lean on Him and trust His word:
So do not be afraid. I am with you. Do not be terrified. I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will hold you safe in my hands. I always do what is right. (Isaiah 41:10 NIRV)