The pancakes have all been devoured and Lent has just kicked off. Perhaps you’re new to this 40-day observance, or maybe you’re used to giving something up but are running low on inspiration this year. If so, why not try giving up one or more of the following?
- Single-use plastics. We all know how harmful they are to the environment, so why not go out of your way to buy items that are not wrapped in unnecessary plastic?
- Coffee. This is a tricky one for a lot of people, but you might enjoy considerable health benefits as a result, not to mention significant financial rewards if you normally buy coffee out every day.
- Using your mobile in the car. Forty days is long enough to break a bad habit, so switch it off, pop it in the glovebox and get used to not checking it until you have reached your destination.
- Complaining. Most of us are guilty of the occasional moan, but it’s not a good way to keep your spirits up or positively impact the mood of those around you. Enough with the eye-rolling and finger-pointing. Give it up and practise thankfulness instead!
- TV or video games. If you’re constantly glued to a screen, take a much-needed break. Use the time to hang out with friends or visit a lonely relative.
- Giving up! If you find that you tend to get halfway through a DIY or gardening project and then give up before it is finished, it’s time to take action. Use this time to nail those half-finished jobs.
- Boasting. Perhaps you’ve been blowing your trumpet at work or church in a bid to impress others. Avoid all forms of pride, and instead give God the glory for all that he has done for you.
- Wasting money. If you have subscriptions you never use (including that one for the gym you never attend), either put them to good use or shut them down. While you’re at it, make sure you’re getting the best deals on your mortgage, insurance policies and utilities.
- Fast fashion. We’ve all seen the pictures of adults and children working in sweatshops for pennies to make our disposable fashion items. If you need something cheap to wear, head to your local charity shop.
- Cracking your knuckles. It’s not good for your joints and is most likely setting everyone else’s teeth on edge. Use a fiddle toy or stress squeezer if you feel like your fingers need to be kept occupied.
What to do instead
With all the extra time, money and good cheer on your hands, you will have much more capacity to do positive things. Get stuck in to reading God’s word and reinvigorate your prayer life. Spend time with people who build you up in your faith. Encourage those around you in their faith and pray for opportunities to share your beliefs. Serve people in your church and local community. Thank God every day for his amazing creation. Forgive those who have wronged you, and make amends with those you have wronged.
Then make sure that these new habits extend way beyond Lent!