33 things to give up for Lent

More than a decade ago, I started thinking about what we could give up for Lent. Or better, what we could move toward. The list turned into Lent for Non-Lent People: 33 things to give up for Lent and other readings. I’m grateful for the people who have found that book helpful.

I decided that it might be useful for me (and maybe for you) to revisit the list today. Wednesday, March 2, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It may be that one or the other of these will be helpful in thinking through finding ways to find more time, attention, or conversation starters in our conversations with God.


  1. First place in line.
  2. The last piece of pie.
  3. Second thoughts about commitments.
  4. “Just five minutes more” (when they keep you from family).
  5. The last word.
  6. A fifth. Of something.
  7. A quarter-pounder.
  8. Sixty-eight cents a day. (In a year, it pays the tuition for a child supported through the Frontrange Freedom Tour.)
  9. 1400 characters (or a day without tweeting).
  10. Three scowls.
  11. A second helping.
  12. The last place in line, which demonstrates just how humble we actually are.
  13. The Eleven O’clock News (or whatever kept you from turning off the TV and going to bed last night.)
  14. Six simultaneous projects.
  15. 10 minutes of frantic activity.
  16. The Final Four [pool] that consumes your attention for a month.
  17. One argument.
  18. A fourth pair of shoes.
  19. Eating alone.
  20. 12 disciples (Jesus did it. At the end. Course, they left him. So never mind).
  21. 8 minutes on the snooze.
  22. A second glance.
  23. The first 15 parking places closest to the door.
  24. A five-minute well-justified rant about the way that person completely mistreated you when they cut you off as you were driving…
  25. One minute of worry each hour.
  26. 30 minutes that could have been filled with, “Wait, what did I do with that 30 minutes?”
  27. 55 cents for a stamp on an envelope with a piece of paper that says, “I love you.”
  28. 60 minutes a week to converse with someone about God. (or read 300 words).
  29. Friday. (or any one day that you spend willingly on the well-being of someone else.)
  30. Credit. (for number 29)
  31. An extra coat.
  32. $10,000. (Maybe you could.)
  33. My will (let’s go with Your will instead).