I struggled with deciding what to give up for Lent when Ash Wednesday arrived a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think that giving up chocolate or soda as big sacrifices, so I try to commitment myself to things that are actually a challenge to me. Past examples include giving up complaining and making myself get up an hour earlier to read the Bible.
My small group and I just wrapped up Balanced, a study about what the Bible says about money. One of the big things the study talks about is discontentment. We want shiny, sparkly and new things instead of finding satisfaction with the things we already own. While I’m pretty good at sticking to my budget, I frequently give into the temptation to splurge on little things. I struggle with a lot of “I deserve this,” moments when I want to reward myself for working hard or if I’m feeling stressed out. An occasional Chai Latte here or on-sale pair of shoes there feels good in the moment, but they only provide temporary contentment.
This year for Lent I decided to challenge myself to give up the small splurges that I love so much. There are moments when giving up these little things feels painful, but I’m starting to realize that these small sacrifices will be worth it in the long run. The money that I’m saving during Lent can be used for more meaningful things like the chance to travel this spring and summer and donating to charities. I’m also better able to appreciate small, free pleasures like getting to walk in the park on nice days and baking my own cupcakes instead of buying the insanely expensive ones from the bakery.
I’m sure that I will still indulge in small splurges after Lent, but I’ll be more conscientious about whether I really need the little things I enjoy to buying. Being more thoughtful about my spending during Lent is making me more appreciative of all that I’ve been blessed with.
Did you give anything up for Lent this year? What are your small splurges?