This post is a two-part post. Read this one first and then right after, go read the second part over at my friend Cyndi’s blog Walking in Grace and Beauty. She has graciously allowed me to guest post over at her place so I could fit these two posts in one day. Cyndi is a pastor’s wife that loves fashion and I think a perfect fit for these posts. If you are a fashion lover too, you will love her and her blog! So first, read this below and then head straight over there!!
On the surface, the clothing week of The Summer of 7 has been easy. These 7 articles of clothing I’m wearing are a cinch. The make-up thing has been awkward at times but overall both things are have actually streamlined my life.
I think, though, that God had me take a look at the heart of the problem. Because isn’t the heart usually the problem?
I think in any situation where you have excess, you can remove the excess but if you don’t rearrange your perspective, it’s just going to keep coming back. It’s like weeding without digging up the roots.
I want to get to the heart of the problem but the first thing I want to address is the areas of concern for me. Perhaps you can relate.
Well, duh. I know this whole week is supposed to be about clothing. On the surface it’s simply a numbers game. Many of us just have too many pieces of clothing in our closets. I touched on this last week so I won’t beat a dead horse but the fact of the matter is we just don’t need much of what we have. Either it doesn’t fit or it’s out of style or it’s just not you or you just have so much that it doesn’t go into “rotation” often enough.
I’ve been wearing only 7 articles of clothing this whole week and while I admit I haven’t been “in the mood” for some of these outfits, I don’t need to wear anything different. Many of us could probably go weeks without washing clothes and still have some left in our closets. It’s TOO MUCH. Too many others could be blessed with what we have and I still truly think it has spiritual roots.
Challenge: Go give your closet a good purge. It’ll feel great—after you get over the depression on how much you’ve let build up.
The number of clothes leads us quickly to a different numbers game…how much it cost to begin with. I can’t imagine how much money America spends on fashion every year. It’s a lot. As for me personally, I can easily drop a few hundred dollars in an afternoon. I’ve always been kind of a cheap-skate but my weak spot has always been clothes and shoes. $20 here and there and I’d have another huge chunk out of my budget.
God has been working on me for years. When Dani and I started the Blood Water Belt almost two years ago, I learned every dollar counts. Blood:Water Mission says that one little dollar can give someone clean water for an entire year. That $12 shirt at Walmart is even on deck for scrapping. You could give a whole family or two water for a year. I’m serious, ya’ll (me!). Every single dollar matters.
I’m still not great at this. But when I am successful, I always ask myself am I ok with clothing myself with this OVER providing help for someone. It’s so hard to know the line and I still haven’t found it. I just know that at some times, God gives me peace about owning certain things. It’s no easy answer, I know.
One caveat to this is to say it does NO good if you just funnel your money to something else that is of temporary value. I think we’ll get more into this during the Spending week but just food for thought for now.
Challenge: Look at your receipts/checkbook/Mint.com. How much did you spend on clothes in the last 3 months? Would you be willing to share that number? Challenge yourself not to buy anything new for a few months. Yes, months.
Time and Focus
You can get lost in Fashion magazines, Pinterest, blogs. Heck, even, in your own closet. Fashion can be quite time-consuming. Our time is important. Why are we focusing so much of our time on something in the physical realm so much when there is so much else of eternal value we could be using our time?
Challenge: Stop a magazine subscription or unsubscribe from a blog or Pinterest user that really feeds your excessive behaviors. Spend the time thinking about what you could to replace at least some of that time.
My preacher talked this weekend about a passage from John 3 I’ve never understood.
The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
He’s talking about being like the best man at a wedding. Isn’t it so joyful to see two people you love get married? He says that’s how he feels about leading people to Christ and see them fall in love with him. THAT’S what I want my life to be about. Having a hand in leading people to Christ to find an everlasting love. Is that where our dress is leading people?
By putting too much emphasis on our physical, what are we leading people towards? Their next best outfit or Jesus? A mind full of lustful thoughts or Jesus? Jealousy or Jesus?
That said, I do think there are certain people who are legitimately gifted in fashion and I don’t want to diminish that. I think we all just need to really assess in what ways God wants us to help draw people unto Him. For a lot of us, fashion is not our calling but we spend time and money on it like it is.
Challenge: Make a reminder sign for your closet to double-check your outfit for appropriateness.
We have to ask ourselves these hard questions about excessive behaviors. Am I spending too much money on clothes? Am I thinking about what I’m wearing too much? Am I shopping or browsing too much? Are people fixated simply on what I wear?
The problem here is that we can’t fix these excesses by simply swearing off clothes (well we could, I guess. Hello, nudist colony!).
The question that these excesses and challenges lead me to is as a Christian woman that loves clothes, what is is my appropriate response to clothing? I know this was kind of a negative Nancy post and there may be questions and “but maybes” after reading this one alone so I NEED you to head straight over to Cyndi’s blog and read the second part for some encouragement.
Below are the other Summer of 7 Clothing posts so check them out!