Many of my Christian friends don't come from a tradition that follows a church-year calendar, but in my denominational background I always loved the special seasons of Advent and Lent.
Over the years, my husband and I have prompted things to give up as a family during Lent, or other times encouraged our children to each chose something individual. (The kids sometimes offered to give up broccoli or homework, but I digress).
We've given up television, pop, candy, shopping (only buying necessary groceries and nothing else), and various other things...and added disciplines of more Bible reading time, prayer, and giving.
I find I'm so easily distracted by the bright shiny things of life, that I need times where I can focus more effort and attention toward my walk with God. Fasting of various kinds can really help.
This year, I decided on Ash Wednesday to give up something that I enjoyed daily - Facebook and Twitter. I had no idea that many folk around the country where doing this, too. After I posted my note saying "Stepping back from Twitter and Facebook for Lent - see you after Easter" I received a call from Molly Millet, who was working on an article for the St. Paul Pioneer Press on this topic. You can read it here:
Pioneer Press Article
I love knowing that so many people are interested in putting God about some of the treats or distractions of life.
And that's truly why I've always loved Lent. Because no matter how uncomfortable some days become (whether I'm longing for a can of pop, chocolate, or a game of Scramble on Facebook) there are so many blessings. The thing I'm missing becomes a trigger to remember all Jesus suffered on my behalf, and I learn that while I thought I was totally committed to God, He can draw closer still as I focus more time and energy on Him each day.
Anyone else giving up something during Lent?