Dear Bee, don’t give up! (Give away instead.)

Do you know Lent starts this Wednesday (1st March)? Usually everyone knows all about the day before Lent starts, because shops start putting eggs and lemons in prominent places, but Lent itself goes unnoticed.

However, I find it a very special time of year. I know, Bee, that you will be wondering why that might be, because the six weeks before Easter never really means that much for you, except for the fact that your birthday happens at some point in that time (usually). However nowadays Easter is a significant event for me, and therefore Lent means a lot too.

Just to keep you in the loop, Bee, Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and reflection leading up to Easter. Easter marks the event of Jesus dying on the cross (Good Friday), and then being resurrected to life again (Easter Sunday). It’s a serious thing, hence the six weeks of thinking time leading up to it.

Traditionally, people give up cakes, chocolate and sweets for Lent (the fasting bit). That’s hard, and I have done that in the past, Bee, and it does cut an inch or two off my waistline, so it has its benefits.

But if Lent has to have any impact beyond Easter, it needs to involve a bit more than just getting a couple of pounds lighter.

So, for the last couple of years I’ve given away, instead of given up. There’s a great initiative called 40acts, which encourages and enables folk to do a generous act of kindness every day for 40 days (that’s the full six weeks of Lent, except Sundays). You sign up, and then every day of Lent you get a short blog to read and a challenge to do. Every challenge is about giving something away, anything from a smile, to chocolate, to your favourite scarf. Sometimes it’s about giving away your time, like using an hour of your day to litter pick in your street. Sometimes it’s about giving away your money, for instance paying for someone’s coffee.

So, I’ve signed up for 40acts this year too. But I’m going a step further this year, Bee. Every week of Lent there will be a giveaway via this blog too. Each week you will have an opportunity to put your name forward for a chance to get something for free!

Why have I decided to do that? Because I want to bless you, Bee. I want to help you see that being generous doesn’t necessarily mean giving away money. Generosity is actually an attitude of mind that can filter down into every aspect of your life.

And actually, it’s generosity towards me that has provoked me to commit to this, from a lovely person who you will find out more about next week.

In the meantime, give 40acts a go. Go here to find out more.

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