Giving Up or Giving More?
By Rev Cham Kaur-Mann, Rev Dr Kate Coleman

It’s that time of year again… yes Valentine’s but we’re also on the approach to Lent!  

This raises the age-old question of how to enter this sacred season and what to do over the 40 days leading up to Easter.  Give up? A sentiment many have been struggling with for slightly different reasons throughout lockdown. Or Give more? 

I always find myself having an internal dialogue around the theme of what exactly to give up... coffee, the foods we love, ladoos, alcohol, watching tv, social media… it all sounds very good and possibly within reach… just!  On the odd occasion and when I’m on form, I even answer myself back aloud!! 

As I consider Lent this year, I’m reflecting on how I can make it a meaningful time of spiritual growth and development and how I can stay focussed on the internal journey of self-reflection, while also being mindful of the external journey and the needs of others.

This season has already been costly for many of us who have had to, and continue to, give up so much, including personal freedoms and personal interactions.  So, I’ve decided that I’m not going to give up anything! Yes you heard me... Instead, I’m going to give more… much more…  

Now I know this isn't rocket science, but I feel that this year more than any other, I need to lean further into this trajectory.  And I invite you to join me in using the gift of Lent as an opportunity, to give more too.  Some describe this as, ‘small acts of kindness’, others, ‘being the visible hands and feet of Jesus’.  I call it being hyper intentional by consciously looking and listening for opportunities to ‘share the love’, extending ourselves (yup even that little bit further) and generously filling someone else’s cup.  This is a discipline, especially when the temptation is to attend to ourselves and to lookout for our own.   

I’ve already started on my list of possibilities and I’m planning one ‘out of my comfort zone’ activity each day. They include: getting in touch with someone who may need a word of encouragement or inspirational quote via a card/e-card/email; leaving a gift on someone’s doorstep. ‘Calling round’ (in a socially distanced way, of course) to someone living on their own as I take my daily walk, praying for my couple of (er... let's just say 'challenging') neighbours as I walk past their homes, or for the lovely people who work in the corner shop, petrol garage, behind the counter at the post office and the front-line workers on my street. I plan to smile a lot (and hope not to get arrested in the process)!  I plan to give more by activating my inner mover and shaker to take small steps toward persuading power brokers (e.g. my local MP) on social issues I have simply been too busy to raise (until now).  On one day, I will even ‘take a knee’ in my front room in solidarity with those on the receiving end of racial abuse.

I know... I’ve barely got started and have a whole 40 days to fill through hyper-intentionality… I’m still praying and thinking about stuff.  And if you have time in your already busy schedule, in addition to giving more, please feel free to share any hyper intentional  ‘out of your comfort zone’ ideas to inspire us all...

By Cham (with a little 'help' from Kate!)

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About the authors

Rev Cham Kaur-Mann

Rev Cham Kaur-Mann has nearly 20 years leadership experience, in the church, charity and voluntary sectors and is a mentor and coach to leaders. She is the first (and currently only) Asian woman minister within the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

Cham is Co-Director of Next Leadership and has also worked with the Cinnamon Network as the Trainers’ Team Manager, delivering leadership training across the UK.

She is a motivational speaker with a unique and compelling ability to ‘story a story’.  Cham mentors, coaches and supports leaders from a variety of sectors.  She is author of ‘Images of Jesus’ and ‘Are there traditional “women’s ministries”?’

Cham is a Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach.

Rev Dr Kate Coleman

Rev Dr Kate Coleman is the founding director of Next Leadership. She has well over 30 years of leadership experience in the church, charity, voluntary and business sectors, and is a mentor and coach to leaders from diverse sectors, backgrounds and communities.

Kate completed a term as Chair of the Evangelical Alliance Council (2012-2014), is a former president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (2006-2007), and a Baptist Minister.

A popular speaker and lecturer, Kate has gained a reputation as a pioneer, visionary and an inspiration too many. She is a strategic advisor who mentors, coaches and supports leaders and organisations locally, nationally and internationally. Recognised as one of the 20 most influential black Christian women leaders in the UK. 

Her network extends across all sectors and church denominations. Kate is the author of 7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership. Her media contributions include the mainstream press, radio and TV. Kate is a Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).