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12 Things To Give Up For Lent

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

So what are you giving up for Lent?

I have not acknowledged Lent for more than half my life. Growing up my family didn’t practice Lent. So not until I was a seminary student in 2001 did I even know that Lent was a thing that some Christians do.

"Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. 2 After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving." Matthew 4:1-2

What is Lent?

Emulating Jesus and his wilderness fast for forty days and nights, Christians observe the days starting Ash Wednesday (2/22) to Easter (4/9) as Lent. Simply put, Lent is a season. A time for self-reflection, examination, fasting, repentance and prayer. The fast lasts for 46 straight days or for 40 days setting aside Sundays as the day when one can break the fast. The idea here is that Sundays are hallelujah days while the other days are repentant and sacrificial.

Why Observe Lent?

It’s a practice to discern what’s getting in the way of your God relationship. See observe Lent to practice sacrifice and reliance on God. Moreover, Lent is a season you can choose slowing down and reconnecting with yourself and Jesus. In all the fasting there is renewed focus on Jesus and his role in your life.

How do I decide what to give up?

I typically discern what to give up during the Ash Wednesday service. Prior to this, I might pray about it. However, I allow that time in worship to minister to my heart.

Reflect on the question: what’s getting in the way of a relationship with Jesus?

What can I give up?

You get to decide! Here are some things folks have tried:

Food Fast

  1. Physical fast: skip a meal or eat at a certain time once a day.

  2. Partial Fast: No meat (a traditional option) or any one item like chocolate.

  3. Daniel Fast: No meat/sweets or bread.

  4. Alcohol

Behavior Fast:

  1. Stop complaining

  2. No gossiping (this can include listening to others in person and/or media outlets)

  3. Stop raising your voice (stay calm)

  4. No technology or social media

  5. No fast food

Take on

Some people add things instead of taking things away.

  1. Write in a gratitude journal

  2. Increase communication with your partner, child, best friends (add a daily check-in time with them)

  3. Serve at one or multiple organizations daily to make an impact. Or serve your neighbors, the elderly, someone sick.

  4. Extend or start a prayer time

  5. Read scripture

With all of these options, choose one. A focused fast is important. Trying to do more than one thing will distract you.


Action Brings Clarity

Resources & Recommendations

  1. Sign up for The Gathering Lenten Devo . If you’ve never read an entire book of the Bible, this is a great resource to help you do just that. A few scriptures every day from the book of John with a reflection written by lay folks.

  2. Mark your calendar to listen to my NEW Podcast Where Faith & Feelings Meet starting Wednesday 2/22.

  3. Let’s do Lent together. Hang out with me to discuss my devotional journal GET UP: Unearthing Your Passion and Taking Brave Action in 50 Days. It will be a meaningful Book Discussion & Prayer Group LP. Sign up here.

  4. Attend special services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and EASTER either online or in person; go with a friend or your small group. 🤗

  5. Find a Fish Fry in town and go on a Friday to enjoy community with folks.


God as I enter the season of Lent, begin to show me where to focus my fast. What has been in the way or what could bring me closer to you? I’m open to the date you have for me. May I go through the season with intentionality and commitment, but also compassion and grace for when I get it wrong. I’m anticipating a transformational journey with you. Thank you, God. In Jesus name through the power of your Holy Spirit, so be it. Amen.

© Charity Goodwin, 2023.



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