In March I made the decision to give up shopping for myself and my house. While I have done okay in this, I bought no clothing or accessories for myself, I have noticed a few stages in giving something up.
Stage 1: Excitement and Dread- I wanted to do this so badly and was excited at what I may learn. And I was also terrified thinking I was crazy and could not do it.
Stage 2: Encouragment- Once I began the process and had accountability and encouragement, I was doing well. I was encouraged by all of you and by God to keep going.
Stage 3: Justification- I wanted to justify every single time I was at a store. "but God, I didn't say I would not buy this... or that... or but I have been looking for this for a long time... its so cheap, does it really matter?"
Stage 4: Indifference- I really didn't always care. I shop or not. I talk to God about my feelings in it, or not. I didn't feel the need to buy myself anything, but I didn't feel the need to gain satisfaction from God.
Stage 5: Fear- My fear is not in doing this anymore, but rather in NOT doing it. Fear that maybe I didn't learn enough and will go crazy and now make up for lost time.
The result? Gratitude. I know that I needed to do this and I am grateful that I was able to do it and to talk about it. I am grateful for those who held me accountable. And above all, I am grateful to God that He is ALL I need. Without Him, I will NEVER be satisfied. I would forever wander around and search for things that leave me empty and hollow. God is the ONLY one who can fill me up to the top.
I am so grateful that He forgives me for those times I try to argue with Him and justify what I am about to do. I am grateful that He speaks in that small, still, sometimes nagging, voice that stops me from doing what I know would not benefit me.
Did I do this no shopping thing perfectly? Far from it. I still shopped for my kids and husband, maybe over the top at times. I also garage saled and bought a few things for the house. But I have learned not to be caught up in those failures either. The most important thing is that I learned. I learned that to be satisfied I need to stop and have that time with God. Yes, sometimes the time is while I wander the aisles of Target. But I don't believe that God minds where I meet Him, as long as I am meeting Him. And listening.
I encourage you sometime as you are shopping. First ask God to be all that you need. Tell Him to give you strength to walk past things that you don't need. I promise you that your credit card bills will be less! ;)
That's my story for now...
Even though I am a day late, I am still linking up with the sisters...