Wednesday, February 25, 2015

To Be Clothed in Contentment.

Three years ago I read a book penned by author/speaker Jen Hatmaker titled: 

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

For many a reason of which I won't go into today (check the link, or just read the book), Jen embarked on a 7 month journey.  In the spirit of a fast she committed to each of the experiments  listed below. 

Only seven foods for a month. 
Only seven pieces of clothes for a month. 
Give away seven things we own a day for a month. 
Eliminate seven forms of media for a month. 
Adopt seven substantial habits for a greener life.
Spend money in only seven places. 
Practice "seven sacred pauses" a day
In her words, "a deeply reduced life to find a greatly increased God" 

I should mention that I read this book while on a 7-day 15th anniversary cruise with my husband.  Oh, the irony was rich as we sailed the seas in that mammoth vessel where excess was celebrated, expected and blissfully enjoyed.   Naturally, we had a great time on that vacation but the 7 book really captured my thoughts.  All gussied up in our new duds we feasted on a 5-course (of course) dinner where I shared with Dan all the ways this book had challenged me.   He graciously listened and curiously smiled at my new passion and plans for simplifying our lives upon returning home.    He knowingly nodded his head up and down and then proceeded to order three desserts.  

You guessed it.  I didn't change a thing.  The book went on the shelf and I hit the nearest Target.

Many months zipped by, yet the quiet, muddled corner of my heart that wanted to apply what God was teaching me since reading the 7 book became louder and clearer.

Last Autumn my sister mentioned that a couple years back she and her good friend decided to embark on a challenge to purchase no new clothing for a year.  I vaguely remember this.  I think I heard about it,  dismissed it,  and felt satisfied that I "didn't have to do something like that." 
They had their rationale, rules and from what I understand they stuck it out.    As Stacey reminded me of this,  I was suddenly pricked with the memory of the 7 book and how fired up I was at the time about addressing my main area of excess:  CLOTHING.  

Then came the holidays.   And I needed a new outfit(s).

What really swung my pendulum was an experience I had right after this new year.    I invited my sister-in-law over to browse through my closet for a dress to wear to a wedding she was attending.    I love to share my clothes so I happily and pridefully brought out dress,  after dress, after dress, after dress, 
after dress, 
after dress,

after dress.

She was gracious but clearly surprised and somewhat shocked at all the offerings.  
It was then that I realized it was time ~~insert shudder here~~ to make a New Year's Resolution.  
It was then that I knew I needed to -- for once,  actually challenge myself.


In January I loitered around fully committing and just tested the waters a bit.   I tried out what it might feel like to withhold from buying clothes whenever it fancied me.   Meanwhile, I secretly hoped this trial period would be my window to screw up,  buy a pair of boots and coyly say "Oh, well.  It was fun (#notfun) while it lasted..."

Friends, it's almost March, me thinks it's time to fully commit.   

It's not just the mass quantity of clothing I have that sparked this experiment.  Too many dresses is just the presenting problem. And hear me when I say,  it's not a stretch to say this is a problem.  I just counted 39 sleeveless tank tops in my drawer.
What's the problem behind the problem?    From where must change originate?   Why do I feel called to this? 
These are some of the things I hope to explore and learn in the midst of this experiment.  Here at the blog I'll talk about this challenge along the way as a means of accountability and learning.    It's been 8 weeks and I already have a few stories to share.     More on those cheater boots later.

Here goes nothing.    As in I have nothing to wear.  really.  14 skirts can't possibly get me though the summer!!??


**No NEW clothing purchased by myself for myself.   My sis said that during her challenge Thrift Store items were acceptable to buy when and only if there was a need.   Add to that - at time of purchase a clothing donation to said thrift store is mandatory.    I am still wondering about this.   Is it just a loophole?     I'm afraid if I allow myself this,   I'll be scouring Goodwill every week for something just SOMETHING FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, to buy.

**Gifts can be accepted but not begged for.    (Praises be for my upcoming birthday!)

**Get creative with the clothing items I already have

**Continue to clean out my closet and downsize.   Find the things that fit well,  have longevity in condition and style.   Eliminate the things I don't intend to or rarely wear.  Stick with the old trustys.

**Pray for resolve and sticktoitiveness with this challenge.  Petition God to teach me through this, even as it may just seem like a silly venture.

** Matthew 6:28-30  28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Stay Tuned.  Or , maybe even join me?


Jewels said...

Michelle! This is so great! Can't wait to see you agAin and hear more about it. Julia

Anonymous said...

Great post Michelle! I need to walk along with you and take that stroll through my closets as well. May this truly be an enriching spiritual journey for you.