Are you “giving up something?” Are you “taking up” something? A little of both? Some things to consider:
Take up a book. A classic on the core practices of Christian life is Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. This is available through Amazon.com, and I’m so old I read it when it first came out in 1978. Foster takes up topics like Prayer, Fasting, Simplicity or Service and takes you deeper.
Give up (or cut back) something/anything that is not good for you, and that you hopefully intend to continue to do without after Lent.
That “something” might be an attitude that really is not helping you – a critical or judgmental spirit, a tendency towards self-pity, or the enjoyment of gossip.
In contrast we can actively cultivate and “take up” attitudes we know we need: gratitude, thanksgiving, patience.
If our lives are too busy, we may explore ways to simplify and give up some activities that really are not essential, if only for a season, to see what happens.
It may mean seeking to take up the spiritual practices we already keep such as worship, prayer, or service, but with greater attention. Get into the pew two minutes earlier to reflect on your week and offer your needs to God…when saying grace at dinner take a further moment to name at least one thanksgiving for the day.
Whatever you take up or give up, keep it simple. Get help from others as you may need it. Give God the opportunity to speak to you in new ways this Lent. God is always there, waiting and ready for our hearts.
Some other ideas for Lent: