I don’t often give stuff up for lent. Maybe I shouldn’t write this because I’m not giving something up this year for lent either.

The thing about lent though, is that its meant to be a sacrifice or fast – replicating that of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. I’ve heard people talk about giving up candy, coffee, potato chips or Netflix, Tinder, non-Christian music or porn, but I’ve also heard people giving up stuff like complaining, and I think we should talk about the difference between the two.

I think it’s amazing that we consider stuff to give up for Lent. I just wonder sometimes if lent is meant to give us more than to take away from us, and when we look at lent as though we have to give something up for 40 days, its like we’re stripped of stuff we currently enjoy, and get to enjoy again after 40 days of suffering. And while that might be the point, I really think there’s more to it.

Before we get into it though, there are things you should just give up, you know? Just give up porn, stop hooking up, stop having potato chips for dinner (that one is a note to self), and don’t buy candy to put in your cupboard. I’m not talking about lent here, I’m talking about always. Those aren’t things giving to your life, they’re actually destroying you: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Just give it up so you can find life instead.

When it comes to lent though, there is something beautiful about the idea of joining Jesus’ journey through the desert by giving something up for a mere 40 days. And, the point isn’t to suffer, it’s to see Jesus. Although we may suffer along the way without whatever it is we’re giving up, the point is to become more like Him.

That means whatever we’re giving up should point us towards kindness, selflessness, gentleness, love, faith, joy, perseverance, and every other beautiful quality defining God.

So maybe this year you could consider not what you’re giving up, but what you’re getting out of it instead. And I don’t mean that in a self-seeking way either. What if instead of giving up Tinder, you decide to love every single person in your world just like Jesus does? What if instead of giving up potato chips you decide to start loving your body like it’s a gift from God? It sounds backwards but think about it; what kind of sacrifice does that really require from us silly humans?! It’s huge!

The point of lent is to refocus, to find God again, to walk His journey with Him, to remember how much He was willing to give up. I know He’s God and we’re not, but I don’t think Jesus gave up porn for lent; I think He just chose not to do that in the first place.

He’s the best part of the whole gig; God is the one who gives us every good and perfect gift, and this season is one of remembering the gift of Jesus. Not the gift of potato chips and how we suffer without.

And if Jesus is the gift, and lent is the time we look to Him instead of whatever we’re giving up, how are we lacking any good or perfect thing? So go ahead, think about what you’re really getting out of lent before you suffer for the wrong reason. I know we’re well into the 40 days, but there is nothing stopping you from doing this with real purpose. And … actually, I’ll consider doing the same.