The Surpassing Greatness

This is the second Lenten season that I am making a sacrifice in my everyday life-the “giving up” that you commonly hear about this time of year. I wasn’t raised in a church that participated in this tradition, it was something I came to on my own last year after some amount of prayer and reflection. I want to share that with you here in case you, like me one year ago, have not participated in Lent in this manner. I want to share how it can change your faith.

Last year, I was genuinely interested to see if I could give up something that would be really, incredibly difficult. Something that would leave an absence in my life that would hurt in a way that would bring me to my knees and bring me closer to God. I thought of what would be the most difficult thing to give up and it was obvious to me: sugar. Before you laugh, I have to admit I had a serious addiction to sweets and this was serious and difficult sacrifice for me. I love my dessert, I workout hard most days and enjoy dessert after dinner. I think most women can attest that comfort food, whatever it is for each person, can be a comfort, a joy, a partner in celebration. I wanted to ditch the crutch and find more of my comfort, joy, and partner in celebration in God my Father. Well, I did it, and it was hard, but it was SO worth it. The main thing I learned last year was the power of God in my life. Like many others, I had tried to ditch sugar from my life countless times in the past and had never succeeded.

I succeeded with God.

It was an amazing lesson. I wish I had sufficient words to explain how empowering that was for me. And I celebrated on Easter Sunday with the world’s best cupcake.

I thought about giving up sugar again this year but also wanted to do something new, something that would reveal a new truth for me. After some thought I realized that the thing I have been loving the most lately-finding the most joy and comfort in: spending money.

On things like Starbucks, Amazon, Target, Pottery Barn, Dinners out, stuff for the house, magazines, etc., etc., etc. So this year, in commitment to God, I am giving up ALL SPENDING for Lent. Of course I will still spend money on groceries, gas, and utilities, but that is just about it. Nothing extra and nothing “fun.” I think this is going to be really difficult. I hope so. I really hope that the sacrifice teaches me a new form of discipline. I’m ready for it. “But whatever was my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”

If you are giving up something for Lent, I’d love to hear your story!!

But whatever was my profit I
now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything
a loss compared to the surpassing
greatness of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord.
Philippians 3:7-8


  1. Erin,
    I also was not raised in a church which made sacrifices during Lent a priority, but the church I attend now is really emphasizing it this year. We’re all doing a series together (“in me, in You” by Asbury Theological Seminary) and the very first day is about fasting. I haven’t started yet, b/c I can’t decide what would be a sacrifice for me to live without (I really like your choice), but better late than never, right? May God bless your faithfulness!

  2. Consider giving the money you don’t spend to my seriously amazing friends in Ethiopia. He is a surgeon and could have been very wealthy here in the states but obeyed the sacrificial call of God to leave everything (with his wife and new baby) and help the people there.
    I am 1,000 percent behind them and have absolutely no hesitations directing you their way.
    AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING ministry opportunity.
    So proud of you for your self-discipline!!

  3. Erin,
    Thank you so much for your encouragement. I too embrace the idea of not only giving up something but also trying to add something new. I choose something that I encounter multiple times each day so sugar usually wins out and then in those encounters I’m able to connect with God in a prayer of thankfulness for something he has given to me. Our church has added a 6 a.m. devotion time on Tues/Th during Lent and already today, this is a blessing. I hope your Lenten journey leads you to a greater depth of relationship with our Savior. Blessings to you for sharing. Carolyn

  4. Hi Erin, As your token Catholic friend 😉 I know nothing else but fasting, abstaining, sacrificing and giving up for 40 days and 40 nights! When I was younger I remember always having to write on a piece of paper what it was I was “giving up” and then we’d tack it to a large cross at the front of the alter at church. It was a commitment between you and God and nobody else had to know about it. To me it was such a big thing…’cause you can’t lie to God! So of course it was always something easy like candy or being nice to my brothers. But as I also grew up and grew to appreciate my religion more it became more than just a sacrifice but a way in which to make me a better person. And you’re right with the help of God it worked. It is hard; When all you want on a Friday night is a burger and a beer and you can’t…that stinks! I love that more religions are embracing the Catholic rituals of Lent, it makes it so much more easier 🙂 Even so it never fails that every year I get at least one person saying to me “you’ve got something on your forehead” I just smile and say “I know” it’s a great reminder of what Christ went through. So good luck to you! And FYI I’m giving up BEER!! And as every year I’m going to try to be a kinder more patient person and to find the good in EVERYONE!

  5. I’m giving up sugar this year. It will be a struggle, but my husband and I are doing it together (solidarity always helps!). I’ve seen a lot of people choosing to give up spending this year. It is a great idea and makes you appreciate not only how much you can save but how much you really don’t need to spend in order to be fulfilled by your life. I signed up for an email devotional during Lent, but, for whatever reason, it never came through. Instead I may try doing daily devotionals. I’ve never done them and think they may really enhance my prayer time.

  6. ERIN!

    Hey I just looking through blogs and came across yours!!1 Immediately I was like I love this girl’s style then I saw your name! It has been too long since we last talked it looks like you are doing great. I love seeing your house pics (they are beautiful) I need to go finish looking through your blog:)
    Jess (momo)

  7. Erin,
    Wow what an encouragement! I have both wanted to give up sugar and spending money. Maybe next year I will have the courage to do one or the other. I also wanted you to know that verse is the verse for my life. I found it while I was going through a really hard break-up in high school. I’ve adopted it for everything that has left a void in my life that hurts. I look forward to hearing how you are doing with lenten!

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