What Is Lent Giving Up For Me?

We asked our Facebook followers what, if anything, they were giving up for Lent. Their answers ranged from the satirical to the sincere.


Lent starts on Wednesday. After Tuesday's blowout party that is Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday kicks off the 40-day period in which Catholics and other Christians practice denial and penitence, modeled on Christ's 40 days in the desert. Lent concludes the day before Easter.

It's traditional to give up something during Lent as a practice of abstinence. Some Christians choose junk food, TV, or, more lately, Facebook or the internet. 

We asked Patch Facebook followers if they were going to give up anything for Lent, and if they would ever consider going on a digital fast. Their responses are below. 

Read what other Patch followers had to say, then tell us in the comments: What, if anything, will you give up for Lent?

From Pacifica Patch Facebook:

  • My sister gave up Facebook last year.
  • What is Lent giving up for me?

From Redwood City-Woodside Patch Facebook:

  • What an interesting idea...instead of digital connections - how about making quality face to face connection?

From Rohnert Park-Cotati Patch Facebook:

  • Lint.
  • I tried soda one year, that only lasted about two weeks. I'll try Starbucks this year.

From Sonoma Valley Patch Facebook:

  • I think I will give up the margarita mix in my tequila :) but honestly..instead of giving up, I try to add something to my world....like giving to a charity or volunteering for an event to help a non profit.

Michael February 11, 2013 at 09:57 PM
as a person raised as a Catholic I find the entire discussion of Lent rather absurd. As children we were given little to understand on what basis the Catholic church made up this part of their beliefs. They took the negative view of 'giving up' rather than the 'doing something positive' view. So we would give up candy or give up whatever. Really comical looking back with the ability to look at this as a thinking adult. Religions have no relationship to a person's belief or non belief in 'god'. Religions are man made social groups flocking under a loos connection of stated rules and beliefs. Very strange what humans can convince themselves to believe in all in the name of religion. Very strange. Although it is difficult for most 'religious' people to believe a person can lead a very positive, good, honest, giving and contributing life without partaking in organized religion or even in believing in a formal god.
Penny February 11, 2013 at 11:04 PM
thank you Michael, I quite agree!
tony masi February 11, 2013 at 11:43 PM
I'm pleased to agree with Michael's observations regarding organized religion. I went to Catholic school as a child. The only positive quality I still retain from that experience is legible handwriting. The rest is buried deep within my subconscious due to sadistic nuns and pedophile priests. I think that during Lent people should completely abstain from all religious dogma for the betterment of themselves and the world at large.
Novato Native February 12, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Perhaps I'll give up candy or flamin hot cheetos (probably both) and instead give that money to charity. But I will be buying Girl Scout Thin Mints and putting them in the freezer for 40 days so I can have them later!!
Robin Fife February 12, 2013 at 01:50 AM
I think a good way to look at Lent is the same way the Jews celebrate Rosh Hashannah - Yom Kippur and the Muslims celebrate Ramadan. It is a good time to practice forgiveness and repair broken relationships. It is a time to seek out the people you may have had difficulty with and take responsibility and ask for forgiveness, or offer forgiveness. That means forgiving ourselves as well.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz February 12, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Def' a Catholic thing, but other Faiths practice Lent as well. It's personal....
Lynda Hyland Burris February 12, 2013 at 03:49 AM
This is really a moot topic, unless you're a practicing Christian ... and, even those of us who are, don't really put a lot of weight behind "giving up" something. The Church nowadays really encourages folks to use these 40 days as a time of reflection, self-examination, and penance. I've always thought of this time as "giving more."
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) February 12, 2013 at 03:56 AM
That's a really positive way of thinking about it, Lynda.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte February 12, 2013 at 04:51 AM
That's actually a really interesting point, Novato Native. What if you give something up but also save the money you'd be spending on it (say... chocolate, just as an example) and at the end of the 40 days see what impact that one item has on your finances.You'll not only "give something up," your waistline will thank you and you'll have a better idea of how much you're spending for that non-fat, extra caramel soy latte you pick up every day ;)
Claudia Cruz (Editor) February 12, 2013 at 07:04 AM
I've always seen Lent as more than just "giving up" something up. It's a fast, which usually denotes sacrifice. I'm a non-practicing Catholic, but I thought it was about learning to sacrifice earthly pleasures in order to realize gain more spiritual self-awareness. I never saw it as penance. Why is it so difficult to give up chocolate or alcohol or Facebook? Are those things not allowing us to focus on more important things about the choices we make and the things we value? Other religions fast as well.
Drew Himmelstein (Editor) February 12, 2013 at 04:57 PM
I was interested in the idea of a digital fast because it embraces something similar to the Jewish Sabbath, which I'm more familiar with. It's becoming more and more common for Jews who aren't strictly observant to experiment with giving up the internet or cell phones on Saturdays as a way of connecting more with family and community and making space for rest and reflection.
Jenni Chalmers February 12, 2013 at 06:55 PM
I know someone who once gave up driving in the fast lane during Lent. It slowed him down and caused him to plan more carefully. He used his extra time in the car for personal reflection and prayer. I also know someone who gave up listening to the radio/music in the car and just listened to Bible readings and inspirational messages while driving. Both of them said the experience helped center them and give them more patience and kindness with others. I am Protestant, but we do also observe Lent in our tradition. And my understanding of it is that we deprive ourselves of some earthly pleasure for a time in order to have more time and energy to contemplate who Jesus is and what He's done for us. And I think the joy, freedom, and peace that comes from that awareness naturally flows into what we do for others. So it's not just "giving up" - it's giving up something self-focused to gain a benefit for all mankind (the benefit being our positive attitudes/actions toward others). I love the idea of giving up something that costs money and then donating the money to a worthy cause.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) February 12, 2013 at 07:26 PM
I used to do this on Saturdays; I'd call it my "Tech Sabbath." I'd turn off all my cell phones and laptops and refuse to interact with technology unless it was absolutely necessary. It felt really good.
Kevin Moore February 12, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Why bother? The Pope just bested everyone's attempt.
Mike February 12, 2013 at 09:21 PM
I am a Christian but have never been associated with a church that focuses on Lent. However I do believe in fasting. I really don't believe the focus of fasting, during Lent or any other time, is simply giving up something. The point of fasting is to cause our focus be outward rather than inward. It is to make us aware of the needs around us and to meet those needs. Look at Isaiah 58. It talks about a "true fast" and meeting the needs of others and making a difference in someone's life. The awesome part is that in doing that (meeting the needs of others), there is a reward for us. The reward should not be the focus but certainly is a benefit!
Monachus Bellator February 12, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Wow, what a great discussion. I'm glad that someone sent me the link. As I understand it, traditionally the 40 days of lent were to be a time of increased prayer, fasting and renewed generosity. Like many others I find religion frustrating but I find spirituality not only important but also mysteriously fascinating. I look at religion as a structure, like a trellis...its not the rose bush, but it gives some integrity to the bush so it can flourish. I'm leaning into Lent this year and looking at it like a kind of a self imposed 'winter' where my life goes dormant and I see what falls away to prepare for the new growth that Easter can bring. I know that this won't be a good metaphor for everyone but it seems to be working for me. I like the idea of a dormant fruit tree looking all barren and bare. We have a great hope in new leaves and fruit coming soon but if it weren't for winter there would be no opportunity for fresh buds. Today, however, is Fat Tuesday, so I'm living it up!
Mike Van Horn February 13, 2013 at 05:25 AM
If penance and atonement and improving relationships and saving money and increasing spiritual awareness and staying off Facebook were really beneficial to us--I mean if we really believed they were--we'd practice them, not 40, but 365 days a year. Why, on Day 41, if you saw that something was really helping you, would you stop doing it?
Tracey Enfantino February 13, 2013 at 05:42 AM
Monachus Bellator....How theologically insightful your comments are! I as a Catholic was raised to "give up something for Lent",something like chocolate, or TV on a Friday night. Now however, in times where moral, social, and political challenges are bombarding Catholics; we need to re-purpose our Lenten intentions from abstinence of everyday indulgences, to reflection on what we were originally were called to be.
Tracey Enfantino February 13, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Sorry Mike.. did not mean to flag your comment!
Patience manka February 13, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Wow...Monachus bellator...very inspiring insights,,,thank u
Stephen McBride February 13, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Give up christ for 40 days and talk with God himself and see what happens in the world ....
Harold Edwards February 14, 2013 at 04:41 PM
I'm giving up my guns & ammo and living more like a human being. I don't want to be a right wing nut.Life is too short to live like a complete idiot !
Imagine No Religion February 14, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Why not give up primitive beliefs altogether? Tomorrow an asteroid will be passing within 15 minutes of the earth. It's time we grew up as a species. Time to throw out superstitious religion and focus on what is actually real. People can of course believe in weird things if they want, but let's stop pretending such beliefs are equal to those derived from science. Those of us who know better must also realize that tolerance does not preclude criticism, or even ridicule. The world needs far less absurdity and more critical analysis and the first step is to acknowledge that religion is something that has far outlived its purpose and now does more to divide us as a species than to bring us together. If we really want to give something up, we should consider using less energy, not only on "Lent", but every day. Let's stop with the barbaric "prayer" and primeval paradigms and get real. Praying to a "man in the sky", whether Jesus, Thor, Mithra, Zeus, is something we must abandon if we are to survive. Real sacrifice is something our entire species needs to do every day when it comes to protecting our planet.
Jeffrey Wright February 14, 2013 at 06:54 PM
If I were you I would get settled in to living like an idiot. From the sound of your comment .....
Bernie Wilson February 14, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Robin, sounds like you know the real meaning of Lent! It's not a discussion, but an act.....
Joy Firtell February 15, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Wow! I'm impressed at how thoughtful Napa people are!
TGD February 15, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Every year I pull the lent out of my dryer and am thankful it didn't catch on fire.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" February 15, 2013 at 11:53 PM
I found some lent and $10 in some jeans I was throwing out from the 90s


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