Lent, Bubble Mania, and God

About six years ago one of my students challenged me to reveal what I was giving up for Lent.

I told her, “I’m a Baptist, I don’t do Lent.”

She said, “It’s not about being Baptist, it’s about giving up something for God. I’m giving up caffeine, what are you going to give up?”

Backed into a corner by a student I respected and confronted with the weakness of my “Baptist” excuse, I made a decision.

“I’ll give up Peanut M&Ms,” I said.

At the time I had a virtually endless supply of Peanut M&Ms. We kept Peanut and Plain M&M’s outside my office door for the students to encourage them to drop by our offices.

I had a big mug in my office that I would regularly fill with M&Ms to munch on them through the day. Giving up Peanut M&Ms actually was a very big deal for me.

It was the first time I ever gave something up for Lent and stuck with it.

Forty days without Peanut M&Ms changed my life.

Over that season of Lent each time I would absentmindedly reach for that empty cup I was reminded that I gave them up to remember God.

I was surprised by several things. I was surprised at how I just munched on them without thinking. I was also surprised by how missing them helped me focus on God.

Instead of munching on M&Ms, I would pause for a moment and pray or think about what God means to me and my family.

I learned I could live without Peanut M&Ms.

There’s more to the story, though.

The next year my doctor told me I really needed to change things about my diet and life. Candy was one of the things that needed to go.

Because of my Lenten experience, I knew I could live without M&Ms. I gave them up for good and haven’t had an M&M for four years.

This year, I’m giving up Bubble Mania. It’s a crazy game a lot like Candy Crush that I play on my iPad in spare moments of my life.

I have played it embarrassedly too much. Let’s see how leaving it behind during Lent will help me focus more on God.

I’m going to try giving God those spare moments instead of Bubble Mania.

What will you give up for Lent? Don’t use the “my church doesn’t practice Lent” excuse, I know it doesn’t work.

If you are a follower of Jesus, then join in the ancient tradition of giving something up for the next forty days.

What will you give up for Lent?

Please do not understand my giving up Bubble Mania as trivializing Lent.

I will give it up, as I will other things, but I use it as an example of everyday experiences that crowd their way into our lives. Any one of them we can give up and give that part of our life to God.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are asked to give our lives to God. Lent says to us, “Here’s your chance to give something of your life to God.”

So, here’s the question for the third time.

What will you give up for Lent?

  • DD877

    Sausage Muffins

  • I’m another Baptist who gives up something for Lent. This year I made the difficult decision to give up grains. All grains. I’ve been wheat free (with a few slips) since December 26, for health reasons. After quite a bit of research I feel I should eliminate all grains. But I haven’t been able to do it “for me.” So I’m giving them up for Lent. It will be difficult, but not as painful as the sacrifice that was made for me more than 2,000 years ago.