Surviving Lent Without Sacrificing Your Favorite Things Is Sinfully Easy

jesus statueI was raised Catholic, so I know a thing or two about Lent. And when I say I was raised Catholic, I don't just mean I was baptized Catholic and went to church on Christmas and Easter. I'm talking full-tilt boogie Catholic: Catholic school, mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, no meat on Fridays, Bible stories at bedtime, bruises on my knees from kneeling down to say the daily rosary ... you get the idea.

So of course I got used to the idea of having to give something up for Lent at an early age. A brief explanation for those of you who've never worn the telltale smudge of ashes on your forehead: Catholics are supposed to make a daily sacrifice during the Lenten season (from Ash Wednesday to Easter).

And of course, as one might expect, I got used to the idea of getting around having to give something up for Lent at an early age, too ...


Here's the thing. You're technically supposed to give up something you really like -- otherwise it wouldn't be a sacrifice, obviously. But everybody likes something different, right? Taste is subjective, after all.

So the trick is to give something up that sounds like something you wouldn't want to give up but don't actually mind giving up at all. How?

Well, the easiest way to choose the perfect Lenten "sacrifice" is to think of something everybody supposedly likes doing or eating or watching -- except you. For example, say you secretly can't stand watching The Voice but your entire family is obsessed with the show. Imagine the respect and admiration you'd gain after making this announcement: "I'm giving up watching The Voice for Lent." Or maybe all your friends are really into CrossFit. "Sorry I can't make it to class tonight, guys ... giving up CrossFit for Lent."

Be careful, though -- the last thing you want to do is out yourself as a faker. Like, if you spit out a mouthful of Merlot at a wine-tasting party last month, giving up Merlot is probably a bad choice. Or if your Facebook status has ever read: "Kim Kardashian makes me want to vomit," giving up reruns of Kim & Kourtney Take New York probably won't seem like a genuine sacrifice.

As a kid, I got a lot of mileage out of oatmeal raisin cookies. I mean, they're okay and all, but never my first, second, or third choice in cookie. Still, who was gonna know?

What are you giving up for Lent?

Oatmeal raisin cookies.

Ooh, I love oatmeal raisin cookies.

Yeah, it's gonna be tough.

Just tell the little voice in your head that keeps reminding you about the whole "thou shalt not lie" thing to be quiet. As if it really matters to the Almighty and Everlasting Lord anyway. (Can we say bigger fish to fry??)

What are you "giving up" for Lent this year?


Image via tonystl/Flickr

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