There is more to lent than simply giving something up

Religious or not, adding something to your life during lent is just as beneficial

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Anika Roy, JagWire editor-in-chief

It’s not uncommon for those who participate in Lent to have high hopes of succeeding in the giving up of an item for the season, but maybe find it to be more difficult than they were expecting. Most commonly, people vow to eliminate fast food, sweets, social media, etc. because of the challenge and the hope of eliminating something bad in their lives. While this is very good, you don’t simply have to give something up to participate in Lent. It’s important that people use the season of Lent as an opportunity to better themselves after the 40 days, which can even be through adding something to your life.

Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians “celebrate” this time by fasting, or giving up certain desired things. They believe that Jesus himself was tempted for 40 days in the wilderness by Satan before he began his public ministry, but he refused to give in to the temptation. Lent is simply a commemoration of the event.

The thing about Lent though, is that the second that Easter is here, it’s over. People immediately indulge themselves with whatever they had been missing for the six weeks. However, Jesus after the temptation went out into the world to share the good news. I think that people are missing this point of the story, whether they believe it to have happened or not. After Lent is over, the whole purpose of the celebration is that we’ll metaphorically “leave the wilderness and the temptation behind” and go out into the world as a better person.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. For those that don’t know, I’m an extremely big fan of cheez-it’s, and gave them up last year. While this was unexpectedly and almost embarrassingly difficult, a close friend and mentor of mine made me realize that I gave them up for the wrong reasons. He told me that a lot of people don’t take a minute to think about why they’re giving something up and do it because it’s what they’re supposed to do. He gave me a unique challenge, however, that I give to you to make a change for the right reasons this Lenten season.

Rather than giving something up, try adding something to each of your 40 days this year. Whether this be an added time with your family for dinner each night, or a 15 minute time to yourself before you go to bed to just relax each night, adding something can be just as difficult yet rewarding as giving something up.

Now, it’s obvious that not every student is religious. You may be thinking this doesn’t apply to you at all, but I believe it does. You don’t have to be religious to be a better person at all. Anyone can use the season of Lent as an opportunity to begin making a change in their life. Think of it as a do-over New Year’s resolution. New season of Lent, new you.

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