Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and I have heard a lovely list of things people plan to give up for Lent. For me though, I was always taught to do something extra rather than giving something up. Why? Because no matter how hard you try, your ideas are always going to be selfish. Do you know anybody who gives up healthy food for Lent? No. It is always some unhealthy food group to cut out of your diet. Now, there are plenty of people who fast during Lent which, in my opinion, is still selfish because it enhances your spirituality in a major way.
Herein lies the problem: doing something extra can be selfish too. Volunteering your money to charity also helps you with your taxes. Volunteering your time is a long process in most cases, and would have needed to have begun months ago to really be effective. So, what can you do then that is truly selfless? Probably nothing. I’m just being honest here- no matter what you do, you will more than likely reap some reward and it won’t be selfless anymore. However, that’s totally okay.
So, obviously, I have given this quite a bit of thought this year. I have decided that my Lenten commitment will be to stop online shopping. If I want to buy something, I need to go to a store, and interact with human beings, flash them a smile, engage in small talk- all things I would really rather avoid. If I cannot find something in the store, and I actually need it, I can make once weekly purchases from Amazon only if I use Amazon Smile. This way, a portion of my purchase will go to charity, and since I’m so cheap if I manage to rack up five things I will probably change my mind upon seeing the total price. Additionally, I can only make said once weekly purchases on Saturday- if I forget, then it’s on to the next week! At the end of Lent (i.e. Easter) I will figure out how much money I saved based on my average monthly credit card totals, and donate that to a charity or charities of my choice. I haven’t decided which charities I will donate to, and I am open to suggestions. I would like to donate to a charity that has a great mission, but is not well known (such as the American Diabetes Association which gets my Amazon Smile donations).
I am interested to hear- what are you giving up or what are you adding to your life this Lent? Let me know in the comments!