Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Not Giving Up for Lent

It is a new year and the months are flying by and with that we will see across social media that people are giving up this or that for lent!

In fact, it starts today!

As many of you know I do go to Church every week as well as the odd Church activity in the week; don't worry this isn't going to be one of those nutty Christian posts.

So quick round up of Lent:

Lent is the 40 days that lead up to Easter; technically there are 44 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter but you are meant to take off the 6 Sundays and then add on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. This is meant to represent the time that Jesus was in the wilderness where he went through a 40 day of fasting.

So we then tend to try to give something up or "fast" during that period. In principle the time of 40 days is meant to be something that changes your outlook on life; People will often give up social media so they can spend more time with family or they will stop eating chocolate and reap the health benefits from it.

Anyway I digress:

So Lent is a practice that a lot of people take on, being a Christian or not, it has turned into a "New Year’s Resolution" type of thing.

Lent starts, as mentioned above, today on Ash Wednesday so you will see many people talk about what they will be giving up over this time.  There are many things that I 'should' give up and would probably allow me to feel some healthy benefits from.

This all sounds great doesn't it? So why wouldn't I want to give something up that would benefit me?

The more I thought about it the more it occurred to me that the likelihood is that whatever I give up will just continue straight after Easter. So would I truly benefit from it?

For previous years I have taken up a challenge to take something on rather than giving something up; I decided that I would do the same and instead of giving up I would be take up a 40 Day Challenge.

This had both good and poor results. The first year it worked perfectly and I completed the 40 days. The second year life and my mental health hit and I faltered after 3 weeks. The third and final year was a success. Last year I decided to look inwardly at my "Christian relationship" and subsequently took up more activities daily that would build and connect my faith; something that I've carried on throughout the year.

This year I'll be taking up again but not through blogging or personal activities. I've been feeling that I should be looking outwardly. This is when we (Well Hannah) found 40 Acts of generosity.

40acts is the generosity challenge for Lent, created by UK Christian charity, Stewardship. For eight years, 40acts has asked a question: what if Lent could be about more than just giving stuff up? What if it could be a time of radical generosity as well as spiritual discipline?

Over the years, 40acts has become a movement of over 100,000 people on a mission to impact their communities with generosity – during Lent and beyond.

This seemed to fit perfectly with what I like doing. I'm taking something up rather than giving up. It would help me inwardly but the focus would be outwardly without reward or thanks.

Every day throughout Lent (not including Sundays), you get to wake up to a new generosity challenge in your inbox and short Bible-based blog. Each act is designed to sharpen your awareness and give you practical ways to stretch your faith as well as your generosity, with three challenge levels.

There's also family participation with friendly wallcharts as a guide.

As I haven't done it before I'm looking forward to giving it a try and seeing the pros, cons and if it really ticks the boxes of what I'm aiming for.

Christian or not, are you giving anything up for Lent? Or, like me, will you take something up that'll make a difference to yourself or others?

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