“Hey Marky, what’re you doing?”
“I’m running around town doing a bunch of errands. I decided to give up procrastination for Lent.”
“Wow, that’s great. I gave up anger.”
This year, I didn’t want to give up sweets or alcohol. I’ve done all of that before. I wanted to really do something to make myself a better person. Traditionally, Catholics give up something to commemorate when Jesus fasted in the desert for forty days and forty nights. The fasting is supposed to prepare us for Jesus’ resurrection on Easter. But if you’re trying to prepare for the coming of Jesus and be a better person, I don’t necessarily believe in giving up something. You can also do something. Like one year, I ran every day and during that running time, I self-reflected and thought about what I could do to be better.
This year I am giving up something (anger), but it’s more about practicing the exercises I’m learning in therapy. Breathe. Count to ten. Why am I feeling this way?
I put a sign on my door that read, ‘Do not get angry.’ But why even bring the word into my thoughts? So I got rid of that and replaced it with the ‘Be Happy’ sign.
Here’s a forwarded email from my sister with more interesting things to give up. I had already thought about giving up anger, but this email solidified it.
What Should I Give Up for Lent?
Chocolate? – Ice Cream? – Soda?
Many of us try to be more disciplined for Lent and give up something that we really like. That’s great! Fasting has always been an important tradition of Lent. This year however, let us also consider other things that we can give up.
Give up complaining – Focus on gratitude
Philippians 2:14&15 – Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.
Give up bitterness – Turn to forgiveness
Ephesians 4:31 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Give up worry – Trust in God
Matthew 6:25 – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life… who by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Give up discouragement – Be full of hope
Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Give up hatred – Return good for evil
1 John 2:9 – Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.
Luke 6:27 – “But I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Give up anger – Be more patient
Matthew 5:22 – But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.
Proverbs 15:18 – A hot tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
Give up gossiping – Control your tongue
Psalm 34:13 – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
Proverbs 21:23 – He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.