Over the years my commitment to daily fitness has waned. So when a friend invited me to join a 30-day challenge I leaped at the opportunity. I was surprised at how easy it was to stick with it.
But once the challenge ended, I slipped back into old habits. Try as I may no matter what goals I set I struggled to muster the motivation to exercise on my own.
With the season of Lent upon us I’m more than a little tempted to declare a 40-day workout challenge for myself. But something makes me hesitate. I wonder if this decision is deep enough—you know, spiritual enough to be a Lenten sacrifice.
How do you choose what to give up for Lent anyway?
Deciding what to give up for Lent isn’t something to do on a whim. It should take honest reflection and prayer. If I say “I’m going to exercise every day for Lent,” but don’t think through why, then I’m missing the point. This leaves me at risk to make Lent about achieving my goal on my own strength instead of relying on God to show me what He wants to develop in me.
After some research and thought I’ve concluded the important part of the sacrifice isn’t what I’m giving up but what it represents in my life. I asked myself questions like, is this getting in the way of my being loving and self-sacrificing? Is this a barrier in my life? Is God asking me to change in this way?
It’s interesting because what I first thought was a shallow choice turns out to be a call from God to further combat laziness in me. I didn’t see that before. Now I see exercising as an invitation from God to become a deeper person. And I would never have recognized it if I didn’t sit down and ask “is this what I should do for Lent?”
This flow chart is intended to help you think through what you should sacrifice for Lent. Think of the item or action and then answer the yes or no questions, following the prompts. This isn’t a difficult exercise but it will take honesty and reflection on your part. May this process draw you closer to the Lord!