If you could give up anything on this post-election Wednesday, what would it be?
It seems to me like a great time to take stock and, where necessary, make some changes. Give up some things that are holding you back, holding you down, holding you hostage, or holding you in some other fashion that’s not to your benefit.
Giving stuff up is pretty popular these days. Enough people are living in one-room houses (by choice) that there’s an entire television show about them. I’ve noticed that some are giving up about the same amount of money that it takes for a not-so-tiny house, but who am I to judge, right?
I’ve also noticed that Fast Company, the popular business magazine, has run at least three blog/stories this year by authors who are explaining how they gave up something that many folks act as if they can’t live without. The headlines, condensed and combined, would read like this: “Here’s what happened when I gave up (my smartphone, social media, multitasking) for a week/month.” Spoiler alert: All the authors survived without the thing they gave up.
Maybe you have the post-elections blues. You went to the polls thinking the main two candidates for president of the United States were not only unworthy of the job but dangerous to the future of this great country. You left the polls feeling like you needed to take a shower. And, so, you’re thinking about giving up … hope.
Or maybe it’s not just the election that’s given you the blues. It’s the injustice you see all around you. Or the degradation. What’s the need of hope, anyway? We’ve slid down the slippery slope of no return. Might as well dump that baggage.
Except for this: Hope is the best thing going for us. The psalmist tells us to “be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 119:114) And Isaiah tells us that God will renew the strength of those who put their hope in the Lord. “They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
So, no, don’t give up hope … unless you’re placing your hope in the wrong things.
Which brings me to some things from which you might consider fasting: Pride, selfishness, faithlessness, doubt, fear, false gods …
The world around us looks pretty messed up at times, and Lord knows it needs fixing. But the only place we can start is within. If you’re thinking of giving something up, choose wisely.