Lutherans do not traditionally practice giving up something for Lent, but I and many of my fellow Lutheran friends do so anyway. I've given up a variety of things over the years, everything from TV to chocolate to bad language. I've given up other things during Lent, like the time I let go of someone I loved very much when she died of cancer during Lent.
This year it was really difficult to determine what God would have me give up. As I've mentioned, life is not easy for me these days. While there was a time when I grew spiritually by giving up one of life's little pleasures for a little while, I just don't think God is calling me to give up sources of relaxation, comfort, and support at this time. Yes, there probably still would be benefits to giving up various foods or forms of technology. Right now I need to believe that to eliminate that which makes me laugh, smile, or feel encouraged would be to reject the very gifts God is offering me.
When I came to that conclusion, it was as if a window to heaven had opened. I decided to give up hopelessness and discouragement for Lent. And you know what? It actually worked. Life is still hard, and I still get stressed and overwhelmed. But despair has lost much of the hold it had over me since I decided to give it up.
Now, along with this theme, I'd like you to go to this site and listen to a song by John Waller that speaks to exactly what I'm talking about. You'll have to scroll down to the song called "Our God Reigns Here." I really hope you listen to the song. Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. This means you.