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What Do I Need to Give Up for Lent . . . . or Forever

Forty days of Lent officially began last Wednesday, February 26 and will end on Maundy Thursday, April 9, or three days before Easter. Those who observe Lent generally focus on one negative habit that they will give up for those forty days with the desire to use that discipline to place more focus on acknowledging the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and to prepare the heart for Resurrection Sunday. Many hope they can break a bad habit forever. Others probably just want to lose a little weight. Some give up smoking. For others, it's chocolate, caffeine or desserts. Some stay off of Facebook or social media of any kind, while others vow to perform random acts of kindness or work on their relationships.

I've been working on my own list of things I really need to give up, not just for Lent but forever. In the interest of transparency, I'll share my list. Maybe you will find a quiet spot and write down a list of your own.

1) I need to give up complaining. What on earth do I have to truly complain about? Besides that, one of our chief Cousins Camp rules is "NO WHINING," and I need to set a good example. No one enjoys hearing complaints or being around a complainer.

2) I need to give up placing expectations on others that are too high. Their lives, decisions and actions are between them and God.

3) I need to give up WAITING until a later date to enjoy life. Today, this moment, is all I've been promised. I should make the most of every 60-second period of every day. Not when it's time to leave on my next trip. Not when the next fabulous meal is served. Not on my birthday or anniversary. Not next Christmas. Now.

4) I need to give up remembering past wrongs done to me through the years. My goodness! As old as I am, that could amount to a huge pile of wrongs that would continually weigh me down. The offense is gone. If I keep remembering it, I'm the one causing the harm to myself. Move on. Expect good from others, and I'll be more likely to find it.

5) I need to give up waiting for "the perfect times" to have an influence on the grandchildren. Instead, I will recognize that ANY moment I have with one of them is the perfect time.

John 10:10 (Jesus said) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

Philippians 2:14 - "In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing"

1 Corinthians 13:1 - "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

Micah 6:8 - "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"

James 4:13-15 - "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Have I given you any ideas about having your own personal observance of Lent -- no matter what your denomination might be?

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