My understanding has always been that the idea behind giving up something for Lent comes from Luke 9:23:
Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."Is denying myself chocolate really going to help me "take up my cross daily"? Would it help me to think about growing in Christ and following in His ways? Will it prepare me to reflect on His resurrection and all He gave up for me?
I started thinking about how busy my days are and how comfortably unappreciative I can get of the things around me. The days fly by and there is so much to do, and it is easy to be ungrateful - not ungrateful in a purposeful way, but more in a neglectful kind of way.
So instead of giving up something I love, I decided to give up something that is not helping in my journey to grow in my relationship with God and be a better follower of Christ. So this year, I am giving up ungratefulness. Or to think about it in another more positive way, I am going to show more gratitude and appreciation for the blessings in my life and the everyday miracles that surround me.
Every day, I will take a photograph of someone or something that I am grateful for. And during that day I will take time to reflect on its presence in my life and show appreciation and gratitude for it.
I am blessed in so many ways, I know that. During Lent this year, I will pay closer attention to and appreciation for just how blessed I am. I will give up the complacency that comes when we get caught up in our everyday lives.
I'll try to share my photos and some short reflections here weekly, and hopefully 40 days of doing this will help me to continue to acknowledge and show appreciation for the individual blessings in my life, and not simply say a generic prayer of thanks for "all my blessings."