I never participated in Lent when I was a kid. I didn't even really understand it because Baptists usually don't go in for all the 'high' church stuff. When I graduated from a Catholic College and began working at a Lutheran school, I got an education in the church year and it's special days.
The first time I participated in Lent, I gave up Dr. Pepper. I lasted about a week. It was quite embarrassing to not even be able to keep the fast for over a week! And all it was was a Dr. Pepper! The next year, I told an older teacher that I was thinking about giving up chocolate! She pointed out that for everyone around me that would be dangerous! I gave up Dr. Pepper on Monday-Wednesdays. I made it the entire Lenten season.
I somehow didn't feel like I had really accomplished anything. I mean, Jesus gave his life for me and I just gave up Dr. Pepper? I thought long and hard about Lent and the committment that year so I was really ready the next year. I decided that instead of giving up something, I would add something that I felt would benefit my walk with Christ. The first year, I added a morning bible study. The next year, several of the other teachers decided that they would add instead of take away like I did and so we met forty-five minutes before school started each day for a bible study and prayer. We enjoyed it so much that we kept it up until the end of the school year, except we only did it three times a week. They laughed about how they were long-time Lutherans and here was a Baptist changing it all around! We had such a good time teaching with each other!
This year, I have really struggled with what I would do. It hit me this morning in Sunday school. We are watching a Beth Moore dvd bible study on Daniel. She was talking about our Babylon and keeping yourself from giving into the excess of our Babylon. I decided that I would donate my coupons savings this month to a local foodbank. I think this will keep me mindful of giving to others while giving up my savings to someone else instead of to our vacation fund. I am excited to see what I can save during Lent!