Giving It Up

Read it!

And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

–Luke 5:34-35

Think it through

Ash Wednesday is two days away, so it’s time to think about what I want to give up until Easter Sunday. My sweet momma gives up all sweets (like, even the jam on her toast, Friends). I’ve never been quite that brave!

If you haven’t heard of this practice, it’s basically a modified fast for Lent. Many people stop eating a particular kind of food, perhaps on particular days. Others add an activity, like participating in a Bible study (thus surrendering time).

Lots of people don’t give up anything at all, and if that’s you, I’m in no way calling you out. But I am encouraging you to join me for a Lenton Bible Study Series on Giving It Up… surrendering our hearts to God through the surrendering of something tangible.

I’ve had a few folks say to me, “I don’t get anything out of that, so I don’t do it.” If that’s you, again, I’m not calling you out—but I’d like to encourage you to think about that supposition. I don’t claim to be a Biblical scholar, but from what I can tell occasional fasting doesn’t appear to be optional.  It’s all over the Old Testament (in Joel 2:12 for example), Jesus certainly talked about it (Matthew 6:17-18 springs to mind), and the early disciples did a lot of it (like in Acts 14:23). Really though, we don’t obey the Lord because we have to, or because of what we’ll get out of it… and certainly not because it’s easy. We obey out of our sheer, unadulterated love for Him.

Chocolate is my third favorite thing (as you may have read). I eat some every day, and sometimes more than some. I eat it when I’m happy, I eat it when I’m sad. I eat it when I’m tired. I eat it when I’m relaxing. I eat it just to taste it for a few seconds.

Lately, I’ve been eating it too much. You may have read in my “Momma’s Jungle” guest post that my 2016 word is “Relax.” (Often followed by the word “Idiot.”) I’ve let myself get WAY too tightly wound about many things, this ministry in particular.

In my quest to chill out a bit, I’ve been letting go of my “go-go-go” attitude. This includes how focused I’ve been on diet and exercise over the last couple of years. Consequently, unlike many people, I have not lost my Christmas pounds—in fact I’ve found a couple more.

It’s not really chocolate’s fault. Nor is it really about the weight. In trying to relax, I have lost some self-control. I’ve gone from white-knuckled-healthy-eating to borderline-gluttony. I’ve surrendered my control, not to God, but to the yummy food.

It’s time for me to give it up to God. Starting with the chocolate.

So, I’m giving up chocolate for Lent. Not because of what it will do for me. Not because it will be easy. But because I want to surrender every part of my life to the God I love so very much.

Will you join me?


Live it like you mean it

What is one negative influence in your life that you can give up in surrender to the Lord—what I’ll call your “favorite”? Is it a food item, or maybe a source or entertainment? In what way do you hold fast to it… or give to it the control that should belong to God alone?

You don’t have to give something up to participate in this Bible study series.  Just choosing a “favorite” and holding it in mind will do.  But I’d love to challenge you to give it up!  Pray over your decision and be ready to make a commitment to Him on Ash Wednesday. I’ll be right there with you!

Lift it up 

Lord, I love You more than I love anything. I want You to have full, complete control over my life. I’m handing You the reins so You can Reign. I’m giving this up to You. Amen.


Tell Me About It

Are you with me? What did you choose? (If you’d rather fast in secret, you go!)

For more about preparing your heart for your holidays, read my handbook, Organizing for Joyful Holidays!

Please share this post with your friend!  Here’s a pin-friendly image:

Give It Up Lenten Bible Study Series Pin

PS—Have you heard of people clearing out some clutter by choosing a few things to donate each day of Lent?  If you think this idea might be for you, I suggest you start with a prayerful Housewalk with Jesus.  You can get a refresher on the Housewalk in the last chapter of Building Your House and use the guide in the appendix.  (Don’t have Building Your House?  Well, decide to grow closer to Jesus by reading a chapter or two each week during Lent!)

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