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Every year, Christians give up something dear to them for 40 days as part of a tradition called Lent. This period, which starts on Ash Wednesday and precedes Easter, is meant to commemorate Jesus Christ’s historic withdrawal into a wooden, barren expanse for 40 days, during which he sacrificed many of his ordinary daily routines and pleasures.
Many Christians opt not to participate in Lent, and others might ultimately decide to begin participating well after the period starts. If you’re in the latter group, you’ve still got plenty of time – a full 23 days, just over half the length of the observance period – to partake in Lent. Here are four last-moment ideas of things you can give up for Lent.
1. Unhealthy foods
Many people think of Lent as a time for giving up luxuries or vices that don’t have all that negative an effect on their lives. That’s why unhealthy foods are a great choice for giving something up on Lent: By cutting them out, you not only forgo something nice that you usually enjoy, but you also give up a vice that does have a negative effect on your life. Junk food has been shown to lead to diabetes, obesity, and memory issues, so for Lent, cut out your favorite desserts and sugary snacks and stick to healthy foods.
Drinking is a huge part of many people’s social lives, but it’s not a necessity. Learn how to have fun while sober and kick alcohol for the remainder of Lent. This change is easy to make because it doesn’t require you to get rid of any food or drinks that could go bad if they sit unused for too long, and since Lent is partway done, you’ll only have to forgo a part of life that many see as vital to socializing for a short period. Plus, maybe once Lent’s over, you’ll realize you never needed to drink in the first place – and drinking can also be unhealthy.
3. All luxury goods
If you want a real challenge for Lent, give up all luxury goods for the remainder of Lent – in other words, don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely need. This doesn’t mean not eating when you go out with friends for dinner, but it might mean getting just the sandwich and not the side that doesn’t come with it. It definitely means holding off until after Lent to buy any new clothes, devices, or other nice things that you don’t immediately need.
4. Being anything other than nice and kind
Face it: Chances are that no matter how often you tell yourself you’re an empathetic, good person, you find yourself occasionally having meaner or more judgmental thoughts than you’d like. For Lent, commit to spreading only positivity – and start this mission by reorienting your inner monologue to eliminate mean and judgmental thoughts. This change might be a challenge for many people, but if you can give up negativity for Lent, other people might feel your changes and involuntarily become more open to positive feelings and emotions, too.
What are you giving up for Lent? Sound off in the comments!