Giving Up and Lent

Being a mom is certainly a high priority for me these days!
Every year at Lent I struggle with what to give up.  For most of us it tends to be a food item.  I've given up soft drinks, cheese, sweets, and lots of other standards.  I think cheese was the hardest of all. Probably best for me on the scale.  Given that I was a vegetarian at the time, it made eating at friends and restaurants much more difficult.

But Lent doesn't mean giving up something necessarily.  One can choose to add something to their life during this time.  So, there are lots of options really.  But I've tended to make this way to hard on myself.

Then, on Fat Tuesday, I see a post of Facebook about creative Lenten options.  And I decided to go with option 1.  This year I have given up buying things that I don't need.  And what a broad compass this has.

For starters, shopping is really just the tip of the iceberg.  Since I shop online for almost every thing, this is one thing that has probably given me more time and money.  I don't think that I realized how much time I spent scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feeds looking at sales and things that are interesting to buy until now.  It really is amazing.

Snow time fun with my guys!
Plus its just really hard.  That lamp that would be perfect for my living room from Joss and Main.  It isn't really a NEED.  It is a want.  I have a lamp that works perfectly.  Its just out dated, and I've over it.  But it works.  This is where I start to wonder why I picked this choice for lent.  Its so not fun!

But what else?  Well, when I'm thinking of that Skinny Vanilla Latte.  Do I REALLY need it?  Maybe if I am pushed over the brink of sanity and haven't had caffeine all day.  But, on most days, the answer truly is no.  And that same thing can be applied to those Cadbury eggs clucking at me every time I go to Walgreens.

And speaking of which, well, my trip to CVS was the shortest trip ever this past week.  I went for medicine and left with that.  No looking at lip gloss and nail polish.  I don't need it.

Yes.  My trip to Target last week might be the first time ever that I didn't look at clothes, shoes or home items.  I bought the birthday gift I came for and other household items of need, and I left.

At first, I was kind of disappointed at saying no to those things.  But, with more time and money, its kind of exhilarating.  And I think that I've learned something that I've never really gotten from Lent. Limiting what we give up to one singular thing many times limits what we take from the experience. The broad more generic approach has made a sweep through my every day life on multiple levels.

It has made me stick to my diet on days that I don't want to.  It has made me get through with a task and be more efficient.  And, I actually have that time and money to show for it on a regular basis.

I don't think that I was spending money with wild abandon before.  But I know that not buying things that I don't need has been a good thing for my waistline, pocketbook and just person.  It has really made me rethink the rest of my year and the effect this kind of living would have.  Because I think I'm making more meaningful choices both with time and money.

I'm certainly not as impulsive about my spending.  Thinking through purchases really requires me to take the time to make wiser decisions about my money.  Every week, I encounter someone that is cleaning out closets and drawers to rid all of the clutter that collects.  Will I ever reach a point with less clutter and stuff in my life?  Who knows.  But, for this 40 days this is the case.  And I'm hoping that after Easter I will have made a much more lasting commitment to this in my life.