Posted by: Mad Lamb | 21/02/2016

Giving up through Lent

It seems to be all the rage at present, giving things up. Apart from the usual attempts for New Year resolutions, there have been recent drives from charities to encourage people to give something up and donate money to them for the privilege. There has been Movember, for men to give up shaving and, this year, Dry January to abstain from alcohol.

I was surprised at the number of people who supported Dry January and then gave a great sigh of relief when the 1st of February arrived so they could go back to enjoying a glass or two of their favourite tipple. They participated for good causes and I commend them for that. (PS I didn’t participate as I’ve been tee total for medical reasons for some years now.)

We’re now two weeks into Lent, one of the key times that people put aside a habit, vice or favourite food. For the last few years, I’ve decided to take something up for Lent instead. Not that I don’t think I have any vices to curb, but that I like the positive feel of taking time to do something different.

Both giving up and taking up are suitable for Lent, as its religious purpose was so people could spend more time in prayer and reflection or, for some, a time of preparation for Easter, when they were due to make a commitment to membership of the church or a new role. That’s the main reason, I am surprised when people yearn for life to return to ‘normal’ after a period of giving up or taking up. This opportunity to focus on something different, should be a period of reflection and preparation for a change to last beyond that period.

With New Year resolutions, people count the days, or hours until they fail at whatever they have set as a new goal and then just give up. No change, just regret at another failure.

One of the things I took up over Lent is knitting. It’s been a while since I last knitted something and I couldn’t get my head round bits of the pattern, so I had to rip it up and start again, or go back a few rows, a few times. Eventually I managed one side of a (small) project. It didn’t look particularly pretty and I think I have now worked out where I went wrong with the pattern, so I’m going to have another go. And so, it is with changing habits or giving up vices. They’ve been part of us for a while and it may take time to reshape life to behave differently. We do sometimes have to start again from scratch or go back a few steps.

Have you given something up for Lent? It’s not too late to recommit to giving up, or taking up something for Lent. Think of something that will shape your life beyond Easter. To give up giving up may be a place to start and life may never be ‘normal’ again.



  1. I’ve been trying to do the 40 Acts thing but instead of following their suggestions, I’ve been looking for an opportunity each day to go out of my way to help others in different situations. Sometimes I remember to ask God t show me what He wants me to do that day. Sometimes I don’t! For this reason, it’s a bit up and down but quite exciting too! Great post 🙂

  2. Thanks Deborah. What a wonderful idea. Glad you find it helpful. I didn’t really have a plan for Lent this year. It seems to be a case of rediscovering old hobbies. I’ve realised how much I miss writing regularly too, so that may be the next taking up.

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