Gratitude Day 571

Psalm 46:10 – Our God says, “Calm down, and learn that I am God! All nations on earth will honor me.”

“What are you giving up for Lent this year?”

It’s a common question as Lent begins. I’ve asked it. I’ve been asked it. There’s this part of Lent that often involves some type of denial. Sacrifice. Restraining.

Full disclosure: For years, I have given “something” up. My go-to? Sweets. For years, I have challenged myself to give up anything dessert and sugar laden. Yet, I allow it to get tricky. Is a muffin a sweet? Hmmm …

But I digress.

This Lent, I hope we can look beyond just food as we think about denial. Sacrifice. Restraining.

What can YOU stop doing for the next 40 or so days?

Eating a particular food can fit into this. But stretch yourself. Dig a little deeper. Challenge yourself to think about this at a different level. Here are some things I want to stop doing this Lent:

  • Stop comparing myself to others. Seriously, at my age, I should have this figured out. Truth: I don’t. Live is not a race. It’s a journey.
  • Talking down about people who have a different approach to life than I do. There is more than one way to view this world. My perspective is not always the best. And certainly not always right. Maybe I can discover new lenses through which to view life.
  • Procrastinating. Ugh. One of those things that I just struggle with.

By the end of Lent, do I expect that I will no longer compare myself to others. Realistically, um, no. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll be just a little less critical of myself.

In the next six weeks, will I understand all those around me and how their view of life is different from my own? Nope. It just won’t happen. I grew up in a particular environment which dramatically affects my worldview. This will not change. Yet, I CAN learn from others.

Will I suddenly become this person who always gets things done IMMEDIATELY?

I only wish.

Here’s how I look at this. If I consider myself a -10 in comparing myself to others and if I move to a -9 or Praise the Lord, a -8, I will consider this a win. Sometimes incremental change is all we can ask for. All we should expect.

If I can gain understanding in how someone from seemingly a different planet looks a life just a teeny, tiny bit this Lent, I will have made progress.

And if there is a day when I tackle that frog in my life first and eat it all the way, well, that will be reason to celebrate.

I’m more of a realist than an idealist. It’s hard for me to envision, “Well, I’ll NEVER do that again” when I know I most likely will.

Here’s what I can do. Take the tinniest step in the right direction. Give myself a high-five when I make one choice that helps me stop doing something for today. Or this minute.

I pray that I can be aware that a beautiful picture of my life often comes in the details that I carefully paint more so than the wide brush strokes I swipe.

Yes, “stop doing” is bold. Probably not realistic. Definitely a challenge.

But if I can take one little step in the right direction, it’s a win. If one choice I make today gets me closer to God’s heart, I will celebrate. When I string together a series of little choices, then I can begin to see a difference in how I look at life. Myself. How the two intersect.

This Lent, I pray we choose to see how we can surrender more of our souls to Jesus. Folks – I think this happens with one little choice we make today. It’s less about whether or not I’m going to eat sweets during Lent and a lot more about where my heart needs to be softened.

For the opportunity to draw closer to God this Lent, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Unfortunately, there are several areas of my life that I could and should stop doing something. Things that keep me from fully loving You and my neighbor. I can only begin to make change when I turn it over to You and invite You to change my heart. May I discover small, little, yet terribly important ways I can stop doing things that pull me away from You this Lent. Amen.

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