Do you grit your teeth before Lent and make everyone else suffer because of what you chose to give up for Lent? Do you give it up, then go back to it with a vengence come Easter? Consider why you’re giving up whatever you’re giving up.
Some people will give up smoking or a number of cigarettes for the season of Lent. Why? Because it’s bad for you, and maybe you’re trying to quit? Maybe the purpose of your fast should be a springboard for you to give up smoking permanently.
Fasting at Lent is not to force us to suffer, it’s to make us better. It’s to help us lighten our own burdens. I know someone who is giving up his fascination with fashion models for Lent, and have suggested that he try not to go back to it after Lent is over. When you decide to give up something, aren’t you admitting that it’s not very good for you, at least not on a regualar basis? I gave up smoking years ago, not as a Lenten fast, but just for health, and to prove to myself to trust Jesus to help me. I didn’t really tell anyone because I had failed on my own so many times. But I prayed about it, and took the leap. I wrestled for a week, and then was over it. For good. That Lent, I gave up alcohol. Again, to make myself better. After Lent, I began to allow myself a glass of wine with dinner. And I keep it that way.
So, my suggestion is to give your fast a purpose, a longer impact than just this Lent. Make it mean something permanent in your life, like growing in spirituality. I’m not tooting my own horn, bragging (above), I know I couldn’t do it without trusting Jesus to help me in my struggles.