One month down. Eleven to go. Today’s March 27th, which marks one month that I’m “shopping-free.” On February 27, I decided to not buy anything for a year. I had 3 categories….clothes, purses and costume jewelry. You can scroll back and read the full post.
Today on the show, I brought up that it’s been a month. I’ve been to the mall maybe twice. I did go to Loft to exchange a pair of jeans I’d bought in January. Colored jeans are in, and I had bought a mint green pair, but the more I tried them on the more I realized the color is too pale for my legs. Darker denim is much more flattering on me. So, I exchanged them for a periwinkle color. Other than exchanging those jeans, I’ve not shopped. But before I give myself a gold star, 3 weeks of March was pretty much consumed with a trip to Atlanta and 2 weeks worth of FriendRaiser. At the moment, I’ll just acknowledge I’m off to a good start.
But now the journey has taken a twist.
In the course of the conversation today on the show – and because most times I do NOT think before I speak – we (me, Dave, Bill) are now doing a “7 Clothes” challenge for the month of April. In Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7, an experimental mutiny against excess, Jen identifies 7 different areas of excess in her life: clothes. shopping. waste. food. possessions. media. stress. In Chapter 1, she eats only seven different foods for a solid month. In Chapter 2, she identifies seven different clothing items that she’ll wear for a month.
But back to today’s show.
After reading several different excerpts from Jen’s book, The Morning Cruise (TMC) are choosing seven clothing items tonight, to bring to the show tomorrow. At 7:07 (get it?), we’re going to show what 7 garments we will wear from April 1 – 30. Dave didn’t even have to think about it. He was in for the challenge, not stressed, and is ready to start. One listener kidded that he’d probably have to go buy a few pieces just to get to 7. Dave is a minimalist and he prefers and chooses to be this way. On the opposite end of the spectrum resides Bill and me. And I’m not sure who is struggling with it more. No, actually I do know. It’s Bill.
You will find this hard to believe, but Bill packs a bigger suitcase than me. And when we go out of town as a show, he brings more shoes than I do. And no, I am not kidding! If you don’t believe me, ask Dave. True story.
Dave did give us a couple of caveats.
Mine: I am on a panel at a Women in Radio Summit on April 19. I get a free pass that day, and can wear anything I want.
Bill’s: He leads worship on Sundays, so Sunday becomes his “feast” day. He can wear something different each Sunday for the month of April.
1) Shoes are one category, but we are choosing only 2 pairs.
2) undergarments don’t count.
3) workout clothes don’t count.
4) pajamas don’t count.
5) coats don’t count.
6) we have a handful of station events in April. Staff shirts don’t count. But we are choosing 1 black shirt.
These are a couple of variations from how Jen did it in her book, but the spirit of this experiment isn’t to do exactly what Jen did, or to be super legalistic. The spirit of this experiment is to choose intentional reduction, and to recognize we can live on – and with – less. We are a consumption society. We are an instant gratification society. We are a wasteful society. We are a spoiled society. And please don’t hear this as me on a soapbox or making indictments against anybody. I’m not here to judge. Nor will I.
What I am here to do is open myself up to allow God to work out some entitlement tendencies in my own heart. I let the words “I need” roll off my tongue as if I’m telling someone what the weather is gonna be like today. And no, it’s not needs. It’s wants! I’ve become so desensitized to wants vs. real needs.
I want to intentionally reduce. Reduce the stuff. Reduce the clutter. Reduce the noise. And REPLACE it with gratitude. Replace it with more time with Jesus. More space for Jesus. When I’m aggravated I only have 7 things to wear this month, I want to stop and count the blessings I do have. I want to pray that God helps me with my critical spirit. I want to pray that He helps me with my cynicism. I want to surrender my ability (and tendency) to rationalize when I want something to go my way. I want to be less selfish. I want to think of others more. I want to be more tolerant. I want to remember that slavery still exists in this country. In this world. I want to remember the ones that truly only have 7 clothing items, and wouldn’t need a challenge to succeed at our challenge, if you get what I’m saying. Oh, I could name a hundred more things…but, as you can see, God has a lot of work to do in me still.
I get this may seem silly/radical/legalistic/fill-in-the-blank to some, but for me, it’s about losing the blurred lines between wants vs. needs. To live gratefully. To live more simply. And with a more healthy perspective.
This scripture passage jumped off the page at me:
1 John 2: 15-17 NLT
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
And here’s The Message version:
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
Alrighty, I’m off to pick my 7 items. I’ve talked a good game above. Now let’s see if I can walk my really good talk. No doubt this is gonna be rough. Anybody wanna join us?