I had never in my life considered giving up something for lent. I actually have thought for most of my life (okay, until last week) that it was a silly practice that some weird religions practiced. And lets be honest – the people who always talk about ‘giving up something for lent’ rarely seem like the embodiment of Christ. It is usually some raging alcoholic (or close enough no one knows the difference) who gives up the drink for Lent then spends 40 days whining over Facebook (or twitter). Or your buddy who gives up Facebook (or twitter) but is dying to know ‘what’s happening’ from you always (so much so you want to just give them a ‘like’ sign).
However, recently I began to ask myself “self, what should lent look like?” How could this practice bring about a richer and more personal walk with God? Last night I even asked the question on my Facebook page.
I loved the answers I received. They were thoughtful and thought provoking. Still I waffled.
Do I really want to give up something for Lent?
The answer came back to me with a resounding YES! I do want to give up something for lent. But it had to mean something; I couldn’t just deprive myself of something for 40 days just to restart at the end without there being a deeper meaning. The question remained –
The answer came in something we’ve been trying to curtail for over a year – eating out. It is the expenditure we have been unable to tame – The ease, the convenience, the lack of mess. Having someone else cook and clean up is, well, just greatly enjoyable! I used to go just for the sheer joy of having someone continuously fill my sweet tea – since giving up sugar the never ending water service isn’t nearly as appealing (but I digress).
How, you say, can not eating out have meaning?
One, as one of my friends pointed out on my Facebook, after 21 days something is a habit. The habit of eating at home – of having a plan, of prepping in advance for those overly tempting occasions – is a habit I wish to develop. Lent seems like a perfect time to stretch those habit forming muscles.
Two, there’s the money that will be saved. Eating out is expensive! Although we have been amazed at the savings of drinking water versus soft drinks or tea.
Here’s the plan.
Anytime in the next 40 days that my household struggles with wanting to eat out, we will:
- Decide where we would have gone
- Determine how much that would have cost
- And donate that amount to a worth cause
As I sit here writing this, knowing that we’re broke, it seems impossible to consider donating. But to use Jenn’s new favorite quote “It’s the hard that makes it great”