Friday, March 11, 2011

My first attempt at Lent

A little late?.. yes, I'm used to that these days.
But I have to do this or I will not stick with it.
Here is my lent post, meant to be up on Ash Wednesday, but the thought is just the same, I assure you.

This is my first year participating in lent. I don't know why I haven't done it before, oh wait, the thought of doing without anything generally got in the way. I have used the time to reflect more deeply on the life and death of Christ and read through the gospels more carefully, but as long as I didn't have to sacrifice anything I was good.

Then the other day I sat down to flip through some catalogs that had been piling up. I haven't actually opened any- most were immediately tossed- and I was in the mood to browse. Hubby was sitting next to me feeding the baby and asked what I was doing. I simply said "looking at magazines that make me want to redo everything in our house" (I do believe the answer he was looking for was "junk mail", but he asked). His response has stuck with me ever since... "maybe you could find a magazine that teaches contentment instead". Ouch. That was harsh. But necessary.

I began pondering Michelle's Shop Not challenge. Maybe it is time. Not for a whole year mind you, I'm not that crazy- not that Michelle is crazy, but YIKES!365 days is a LONG time! 42 days sounds doable. I had to set some realistic perameters or I would set up for failure.

After much thinking, praying, scripture reading, I realize that it is about so much more than shopping. It is about my self image. My self doubt. My negative self talk. I think that by buying the next cute top or perfect jeans, I will somehow magically find happiness. And then what happens? That rush fades, the doubts creep in and the shirts shrink. It doesn't do what it did for me the first week I owned it. I look around and think "She" has a much cuter top, if I had that I would feel that good too. And it doesn't work.

The only way to find real and everlasting joy is in Him. And I want that joy. That joy that seems just out of reach too often. That joy that is just waiting for me to pick it up. Right there, all the time. I just have to turn to Him.

So for the next 40 days I will buy no clothing for myself. No shoes, no socks, no jeans, no scarves, no dresses, no tops. Not even on clearance. Especially not on clearance- that's when I say "oh well it doesn't fit great, but it's cheap" Waste of money. I admit this seems enough to send me into a panic, especially seeing as how lent is always (always- I checked) followed by Easter. That means fun new springy outfits to show off as the sun shines more and we come crawling out from this wintery cave we have been in for the last 5 months. (yes, sometimes its the time to get the kids a nice new snowsuit because we are often greeted by an Easter morning snow). So, no new springy Easter morning outfit for me. My kids yes, because well... I already have the boys' stuff.
Also, home decor including baskets, bins, files, vases, pots, blankets, lamps, wall words, and more. I am always trying to find that one more thing that will make it feel "just right". And it doesn't. So I rearrange, I spend, I obsess.
I am putting 1 caveat on that- I have been dresser shopping for both Charlie Brown and Jackson, so if I find the right dresser in the right price range budgeted, I will wait at least a few days, and then decide if it is a worthy purchase. No impulse buying.

And what do I hope to gain from this experience?

A closer relationship with God because I am focusing on Him and His word, not me and my wardrobe. Not knocking His creation of me, but embracing the person He has made me to be. Taking joy in what He has done for me. Thanking Him daily for the beautiful home in which I am lucky enough to live in. Two of them in fact. I have nothing to complain about. I need to find my gratitude back and get rid of the whiney and complainy me.

Psalm 32:11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous, sing all who are upright in heart.

Matthew 6:29 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Linking up with the Jen and the beautiful group sisters of Soli deo Gloria...


Marissa said...

love how you word this and good luck with your 40day journey. I usually try really hard to stop/give up something that really matters too!

Diane said...

Love how you prayed about it and God showed you what was right for you. Proud of you girl. :O)

Jen said...

I'm just jumping up and down about this. Can you see me??? Seriously, it's because I know how sweet the reward is. Even better than finding the outfit that fits perfectly AND is on clearance. Would love to follow your journey! Anyway you would be interested in linking up with Soli Deo Gloria on Tuesdays with how things are going? I think many ladies would be blessed by your words.

Amy Sullivan said...

Hello, I second Jen. Hook up, girl. Your words always inspire me.

Great goal for Lent. Michelle is pretty inspiring, isn't she?

Bina said...

"The only way to find real and everlasting joy is in Him. And I want that joy." ...late is always wonderful when THAT is the goal!! I have "done" Lent a few times...but last year was the first time that Lent did ME :0) I know the peace that comes in this season and I am praying with and for you as you move forward, up and out of "needs" and into "joy".


Karen said...

Alicia, I love the line, "and the shirts shrink." lol...I've found that to be soooo true.

I know the Lord will teach you wonderful things as you wait on Him.


Jen said...

:) Glad you made it, girl.