Do Something for Lent

Bestselling author Debbie Macomber shares her new practice for Lent.

By Debbie Macomber, Port Orchard, Washington


Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. Ephesians 4:23 (TLB)

I have a notorious sweet tooth. Not only do I enjoy sampling desserts, I enjoy baking them and experimenting with recipes. So it’s no small sacrifice for me to give up sweets for Lent.

This past Lent I had lunch with a friend, and when it came time to order dessert, she asked me what looked good.

“Everything,” I told her and then explained that because it was Lent, I was abstaining. “Giving up something goes way back to my childhood. Don’t you?"

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“I used to,” she explained, “but I’ve had a change of heart."

That intrigued me. “How do you mean?"

“Well,” she said, “I decided that instead of giving up something, I would do something,"

This was sounding better by the moment. “Give me an example,” I said.

“I send a shut-in a card or make an overdue phone call to a friend or relative."

“That’s great."

“At first it seems like a task, but I come away feeling better about life. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to give up something for Lent, but I’ve discovered that the things I do become habits and that makes a positive change in my life."

I’m looking to make positive changes in my life too. I’ll continue to abstain from desserts during Lent because it’s good for me and I appreciate them more at Easter, but from now on, I’m going to do something too.

Lord, open my eyes to the needs of others and show me how I can make a difference during Lent and all year round.

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In lent I do not eat meat on Fridays and this is a life long practice, only fish on Fridays, however, this year I've decided to fast. Skipping a meal is hard especially when there are little children around eating all the time.
When I get up in the morning I have a cup of ginger and lemon tea and do not eat again until after 6:00 P.M. from Monday to Friday however, I do eat on Saturday and Sunday.I also find that I do exercise a lot more to stay away from the food.

Our church has asked us to commit to writing notes of appreciation each week during Lent to at least 6 people...1 per week of Lent. It's been wonderful to have the opportunity to let people know what is in my heart.

This year as I have learned some things about Lent and how it is a time for relection and giving up for Christ. I am giving up wearing makeup. This is not easy for me. I have always felt that I was ugly without makeup. I work in the public and am very self consious about my appearance. However, I feel that this has opened up my spirit and is
bringing me into a closer relationship with Christ.

"Giving up" something is always too easy--especially if what you give up is something that is not part of your usual way of life. Sounds like you're being "godly" and doing what you should, but it is not costing you anything. So, I like the idea of "doing" something unusual during that time. Now to come up with such a thing that I can do. With His help, it'll come.

This year for Lent I decided to clean up my language. My language has never been the best, so to show Christ how much I love him, it was time to clean up my act.
A week into Lent I was blessed to attend Cursillo. What a blessing that was! It brought me closer to Christ and helped me understand why I should clean up the way I used my words.
So far, so good. Thank you Christ for leading me out of my sins.

I am trying a neat idea this Lent. I also wanted to GIVE rather than GIVE UP. I am a volunteer for our regional Law Enforcement Center. Each Monday, my husband and I meet with inmates, in their conference room. For an hour we pray with them, hug them, give a bible lesson and testimony. For their Lent, I had them trace their hand on a sheet of paper. They put their names at the top and anything they wanted to tell of themselves. They they listed their prayer concerns within the hand. I gave these sheets to members of our Gideon Camp and my Sunday School Class. These people will pray for his/her inmate's requests each day of Lent. This made the inmates happy to know someone cared enough to pray for them but also by the precipitants having the hand/prayer concerns with them in their Bible, is making the inmates become real people, with hopes and dreams as true as ours. Hopefully, someone reading this will use this same idea. Working with the inmates is the joy of my week. These are really neat people who made bad decisions. My mission is to tell them that God loves them and forgives.

I spoke to my mom about Lent the other day and I made some silly jokes about things that I've given up or things that would never be hard to give up...But seriously, this is a time of reflection and giving up for Christ, not oneself. I have a whole different perspective this year.

When I was a freshman in college, a suite-mate told of taking on something for Lent because in 40 days it can become a habit. We usually gave up sweets when I was growing up, so I liked trying something different and maybe more meaningful.

Lent is a 40 day period which does NOT include Sundays leading to treats on Sunday. (Every Sunday is a "little" Easter.) I think Debbie's idea will work EVERY day, and I look forward to beginning early.