The Potential of Lent

Today is the beginning of Lent. As a recovering Catholic, I was raised to conform to the various religious sacrifices and behavioral limitations of the religion. Anyway, the beginning of Lent has always been an opportunity to improve ones self by restraining from partaking in some activity that may be limiting our potential. It isn't necessarily an addiction, but it could be something that takes up way too much of your time, money, or is unhealthy. It may be you're obsessed with your smartphone, or facebook. Or perhaps you drink too much soda, coffee, beer or alcohol. Maybe you eat chocolate for breakfast everyday, or eat too much processed food, or you need to lose weight. Perhaps you watch too much TV and neglect your exercises, or skip walking the dog. It may be that you just love your new Kindle and spend too much money from your budget on Amazon.
My point of view concerning any of these activities, is that it's not a problem until it's a problem. And you'll know when its a problem. You could ask yourself, what is the one thing I could never give up for forty days? If you have one thing, it may be a problem. Is that one thing affecting your time, money, health or relationships in a negative manner? Then maybe you should give it a rest.
Thus the Opportunity of Lent, which is an article I read today among the hundreds of blogs I follow via RSS. Its about the benefits of giving something up for Lent. And the reasons have nothing to do with religion. It has to do with behaving intentially, developing empathy, confronting your excesses, gaining better self control and saving time and money. All of these are positive things and giving something up for Lent may help you.
When I ask myself what I could never give up for forty days, there are several things. If I think about giving one of them up, for instance, beer; it may create some disharmony in my relationship with my spouse. I personally think I could give up beer (after all I quit drinking soda at the beginning of the year and haven't missed it) but it will change our habit of going out weekly for wings and beer. If I give up beer, that means DH will have to drink the WHOLE pitcher of beer that comes with the wing special, instead of splitting it with me. But we could just quit getting the chicken wing special and he could just order a 1/2 pitcher or a bottle of beer. I don't drink soda now, so that leaves wine or water. And whats the point of giving up beer to just replace it with wine? So that leaves water. How dull. And cheap. I like to be frugal, but I don't like being cheap. So my choice would probably be to just skip going out to eat. It wouldn't hurt me to give up chicken wings too.
So, I'm seriously going to think about how I can improve myself by giving up something for Lent. How about you?
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