The Mardi Gras has come to close for another year and today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.

Giving something up for Lent is typically associated with Catholics, people of all faiths can benefit from the practice. Christians typically try to give up some sort of vice in an effort of self-improvement. After all, it's hard to be close to God when you're spouting profanities or indulging in gluttony. I know there are some with strong ideas of what is considered appropriate to give up for Lent, but I think you should give up something the keeps you from your walk as a Christian.

If you give up candy, that's fine. Every time you reach for a Snickers bar and have to tell yourself no, you'll be reminded of why you're doing it and that's because Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert according to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It's all about carrying our own cross for Jesus. Giving something up is also in keeping with the penitential nature of the season and is considered fasting.

So what should you give up for Lent? That's a deeply spiritual and personal choice. I do hope that you'll take time to study your bible or pray together with your family. Lent is all about conversion and living a Christian life.

In the past I've given up smoking, soft drinks and swearing. This year, my goal is to eliminate or limit negative self talk both internally and externally. After all, if you're constantly berating or talking down to yourself, it's pretty hard to have a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God doesn't make any junk!