One of my favorite albums ever is Give Up by The Postal Service. I still remember hearing “Such Great Heights” for the first time. I was driving to one of our client’s offices and the song came on KROQ. I arrived at the client’s before the song finished, but I stayed in my car until the song was over. “Such Great Heights” was unlike anything I had heard before and I still regularly listen to Give Up, especially when I hear Owl City because Owl City reminds me of The Postal Service.
As much as I love The Postal Service’s lone album, though, I’m having a hard time following its title’s advice.
Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. Traditionally followers of Jesus will give something up during the 40 days leading up to Easter. This practice models Jesus’ time in the wilderness and also puts us in a better place to draw nearer to our Lord. The idea is that we give something up that is hindering our ability to follow Jesus.
In Lents past I haven’t had any trouble coming up with something to give up; I suppose I had plenty that was interfering with my ability to love Jesus. This year, though, when people have asked me what I was going to give up, I haven’t been able to come up with an answer.
I definitely haven’t figured out how to best follow Jesus. I’m not perfect and there’s still plenty more room for the Holy Spirit to work in my life. But on this particular Ash Wednesday I’m having a hard time identifying anything to give up. Again, it’s not that I’m perfect, but since the beginning of the year I’ve been really intentional about more closely following Jesus.
In the past I’ve given up sleeping in so that I can have time to spend with Jesus in the morning. Since the beginning of the year, though, I’ve been waking up at 5:00 to have my devotions and go running before work.
In the past I’ve also given up video games or television in order to make the most of my time. Because I’ve been so busy, though, I hardly play video games and the only television I watch is set aside time to be with Alycia.
Again, I’m not perfect, but it’s kind of nice to be at a place where there isn’t some glaring thing in my life that I need to give up. In the past when someone asked me what I was giving up for Lent my mind immediately went to what I knew I needed to give up. This year, though, by God’s grace, I’ve been drawing a blank.
Lent is a season of preparation and reflection. Preparing to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and reflecting on what his death and resurrection mean for us. Again, by God’s grace, I’ve been doing those things throughout 2016 already. So instead of giving up something for Lent, I’m just going to stay committed to not giving up on what I’ve already started.
What are you giving up for Lent, if anything?