Give It Up

“Whatchu giving up this year?” Katlyn asked me.

“Huh?” I asked. I blinked my eyes for clarity. “Am I supposed to be giving something up? Clearly, I was puzzled.

“Uh, yeah! It’s Lent, girl!” she shouted. “Mardi Gras is over, so now everybody has to give up something.” She looked at me as if I was the dumbest being on Planet Earth.

That was my freshman year of college in Louisiana. My family is from the Pelican State and since I was 11 or so, I’d gone to New Orleans for Bayou Classic every year. I’d spent summers in my cousin, Brandon’s, room while he tried to explain what Master P meant when he said he was “Bout it Bout it.” I walked the country roads of my Daddy’s hometown to the Chicken Shack for dinner because the nearest McDonald’s was two towns away. I’d even been to Mardi Gras. But I ain’t never heard of giving up something for Lent.

A few weeks into the semester, I figured out that most black folks there were Catholic, instead of Baptist like me. I didn’t understand it, growing up in Memphis, the birthplace of the Church of God in Christ denomination. I’d gone to church with my Catholic roommates so much, I knew what a rosary was, exactly when to kneel for prayer during Mass and to pass on the wine during communion (they drink from the same cup.). I was a pro in the game, but still, I didn’t know you had to give something up. Why?

No one told me what Lent was really about. Why it started after Mardi Gras. Why you had to do without something you really thought you couldn’t go without for 40 days. All I knew was every year, someone would give up sex, drinking  or profanity and fail miserably. Fish was served every Friday in the cafeteria, and I thought that sucked. Hell, I wasn’t Catholic! Where’s the meat?

It wasn’t until I moved back home that I understood what it meant to sacrifice during the Lenten season. Unlike my old (and deceased) pastor, the new pastor focused on Lent to build up to Easter. He began to challenge us to sacrifice something we consider a habit or craving, in hopes that we can get closer to God and hear His voice, if and when He speaks to us. Can we really have intimate time with Him if we’re always on Blackberrys and iPhones, the Internet, eating, drinking, having sex and clubbing?

It all started to make sense to me. I wanted to commit to the sacrifice, but every year, I let the opportunity pass me by. So that brings me to my point: I have to figure out what I’m giving up.

I’m already three days in, so I need to make a decision…like today, maybe. Let’s go over my options:

The Internet:

I spend way too much time on here….See, I’m on now! It’s a distraction, but I need it for work. Next…

The Phone:

I talk. A lot. Probably more than I write, unfortunately. There’s plenty to discuss, but mostly, I’m joking around and bs’ing. Venting sessions with my friends are must, but then again, that’s what I have God and my journal for. Possibly, I could cut that out. Between the hours of 6-10?

Television:

I heart the Idiot Box. Anyone who knows me knows I live to watch Martin reruns and reality television. I love movies that come on Encore and shows like True Blood and Nip/Tuck, but I swear with every episode, my brain cells are burning out. I need to get a grip.

Which will it be? What days and hours will I do? I’m too much of a rookie to go cold turkey on anything immediately. It’s all about the baby steps. What are you giving up, if anything and why?

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8 thoughts on “Give It Up

  1. I’m giving up Facebook. Definitely. I’m with you, I never participated in Lent until I started attending my current church(which is M.B.). This year, my goal is to give up something and pick up something. I haven’t been on FB in 3 days and I’m shaking like Pookie. I need to know what’s up with my peeps! BUT with the time I spend on FB, I could be doing something productive(like writing my own blog.. http://www.theworddietmakesmehungry.blogspot.com/..shameless plug).

    I need to pick up something. Pray more, tithe more, attend bible study. I dunno. I’m still working on that one.

    Great post!

  2. I’m definitely thinking giving up television maybe three times a week. Between fb, Twitter and blogs, I already know what’s going on anyway. Lol at Shaking like Pookie! And plug away, my darling!

  3. Well since I’m a pro at Lent I’m going for the gusto. I’m giving up fast food, meat, and sweets (including juice and soda).
    I’m giving fast food up cause I spend way too much money eating out (slightly selfish but still a sacrifice). Meat and sweets because that will really HURT. I can’t have a meal without some of form (fried, baked, boiled,etc) dead animal on my plate. Sweets cause I can’t going through on weekday without indulging in something sweet.

    I guess I should add actively looking for a new church home…but I don’t want to push it. Ya Know?

    • I’m trying to give up television and Internet on Mondays and Wednesdays. I’m a work in progress. That includes the phone, too! I’m also trying to blog atleast 3x a week. That’s not giving up, but it’s still something to push for. Good luck with the FB thing!

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