As Lent approaches, you’re probably wondering what to give up this year. While many people give up food, you may choose to also give up certain habits or guilty pleasures. The point is to undergo a period of willing self-denial. We have compiled this list of 10 things to give up for Lent – if you follow them you will discover both spiritual and physical benefits.
1. A Sedentary Lifestyle
Spending hours in front of the TV is with family and friends or even alone has become a staple of modern living. However, the period of Lent calls for an increased spiritual focus, away from the distractions of worldly entertainment.
Your time away from the telly can be spent in meditation on the life and redemptive work of Christ. Even after Lent, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is strongly advised, as a lack of physical activity is linked with numerous health complications.
Alcohol is an obvious candidate on the list of things to give up this Lent. While moderate quantities of alcohol may provide certain health benefits, drinking in larger quantities is extremely bad for health. That is in addition to the fact that drunkenness in the period of Lent would dishonour Jesus.
From wild partying to low key get-togethers, you might want to give these up altogether. The period of Lent is one in which the suffering of Christ is remembered with solemnity, so for these 40 days, say goodbye to your more social friends, as you spend more time meditating on the meaning and purpose of Lent. You’ll probably save more money too.
4. Excessive Snacking
Lot’s of people love a snack after dinner or just before bedtime. Ordinarily, this isn’t the best of habits unless you are snacking on healthy fruits or veggies. During the period of Lent, however, an important way to express self-discipline is to ensure that you do not eat any extra snacks after your main meals. Your hunger in this period will serve as a reminder of the suffering and hunger of Christ.
5. Junk Food
Junk food is one guilty pleasure that you can do without this Lent. We all love a bit of ice cream or chocolate every now and then, and going without these for 40 days will likely be a challenge for most.
While you deprive yourself of your favourite snacks, however, not only will you be undergoing spiritual discipline, but you will be giving your body a much-needed break from the harmful effects of unhealthy sugars.
6. Soda or Other Sweet Drinks
No junk food means no soda either. But a lot of people do not consider soda as junk food so this point is worth reiterating here. And your deprivation should not be limited to soda either, you may choose to give up other sweet drinks such as tea or cocoa, and stick with water.
7. Things you Don’t Need Anymore
Lent is a great time to give up or give away any items you do not use any more. These might be items of sentimental value, such as your first pair of football boots, but they may be more useful to someone else. Self-sacrificial giving is an essential feature of Lent. Additionally, these items may be taking up space and possibly adding clutter to your home.
8. Social Media
If you use social media for work, this may not fully apply to you. But for the rest of us, those hours spent surfing the sociosphere are best channelled towards prayer, studying the scriptures, and helping others.
Excessive complaining is a habit you should give up in the period of Lent. Christians are admonished to give thanks to God in all things, so even when faced with legitimate concerns, healthy self-expression rather than negative complaining will do.
Read this guide for some useful tips on maintaining a positive mindset.
The sad truth is that so much of modern living is driven by envy. This is evident by rampant materialism and crass consumerism, not to mention the social media filter culture. During the period of Lent, envy is something to give up as you focus on the saving grace of Jesus.
There are lots of other things you may wish to give up in the period of Lent. Think about your life and try to find any habits you think are not beneficial. Social scientists say that in some cases, it takes only 18 days to form certain new habits. If you genuinely give up these 10 things during Lent, you will have greatly improved your chances of having formed 10 new great habits by the time Lent is over.
If you need any help forming some good physical fitness habits, by the way, get in touch with us!