Giving something up for Lent was a foreign concept when I was young. It was something Catholics did, not us. As an adult, I discovered the value of a time of special discipline in preparing myself for Easter. I’ve given up chocolate, ice cream and coffee (the hardest!). I found practicing the idea that I couldn’t indulge myself whenever I want to be spiritually valuable.
The last few years, however, I’ve turned it around. One year I worked on giving up being self-critical for Lent. Now I frame it positively. My Lenten discipline is to treat myself every day. I might buy extra coffee or chocolate, or get myself a novel. I might sit down at the piano to play and sing a song from a Broadway musical. Sometimes I take the time to call a friend.
I’ve found this discipline to be just as challenging, perhaps more so, than giving something up. I use it to remind myself, every day of Lent, that God treasures me.