I grew up in the church, but never heard the concept of giving up something for Lent until I was in high school. I was an adult-- with children-- before I ever really tried it myself. I believe the concept is very well intended. Christ gave his life for us, so giving up chocolate, etc gives us a very small taste of his sacrifice. Makes sense, right?
I found giving up something for Easter entirely too passive, though, for my liking. When I was tempted, I would say, "Oh yea, I'm not eating that right now," and that was the end my friends. Last year, I heard a somewhat new take on this whole giving-something-up-for-Lent concept. ADDING something for Lent.
So that is what I have decided to do this year. This year I am exercising every day of Lent, no matter what! Fighting a sinus infection, still exercising. Exhausted from Jason being gone 14 hours a day, still exercising. NO. MATTER. WHAT.
This adding something concept has given me insight that taking away something never did. Jesus didn't just passivly say, "Hum, I'll think I'll give up my life today for all of mankind". Jesus had to make a conscious decision, minute to minute, to be betrayed, tried with defense, mocked, flogged, stripped, etc, etc, etc. This was not without tremendous pain and test of stength. Seriously, if he can do that for me, surely I can exercise every day, right?
His sacrifice also shows how much I am worth to him. Me. The person who struggles with feeling worthless, and fat, and ugly, and, and, and.... Is loved so much by Jesus, that he would have rather gone through Good Friday than to be eternally seperated from me. ME.