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Month one, the clothing fast has now come to a close. I can’t believe how quickly it came and went. I’m looking back on those four weeks at all that God taught me and I am thankful. I honestly wasn’t really sure just how much I was going to get out of a clothing fast. I thought that I would only be revealed that I have more than I need. While this was definitely a point that was brought to my attention He didn’t stop there. I learned a lot about myself and I was reminded of points that I had allowed myself to forget. Here are a few things that I learned during my clothing fast.

  1. Tic-Toc Goes the Clock. I did not realize until this fast that I spend WAY too much time deciding what I want to wear. I will stand in my closet just staring at my clothes (confession, sometimes I get tired and I sit on the closet floor). My problem is that I over think it– I might get cold in this… I just wore that last week… that shirt just isn’t that comfortable… and on it goes. During the fast you know what I did? I got up, grabbed one of my seven designated clothing items and BAM! That was that! No fuss, no wasting time, just quick and to the point.   

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    My closet overwhelmed me the first day after this fast!

  2. Cha-Ching. Many items in my closet have been passed on to me, but not all. The point that came to me is just how much money I wasted. Think about it, I am sure that I am not the only one who has multiple pairs of jeans, several cardigans and numerous pairs of shoes. Every item has a price tag. Some might have been on sale… maybe $5 and others more pricey. No matter how you look at it, every item in my closet was money out of my pocket. (This isn’t to say that new items can’t ever be purchased, just put a little thought into it and make sure it is an item that will be used many times and the money would be worth spending.)
  3. The What If’s. I have countless items that I have not worn for at least a year just hanging there, taking up space and getting rejected every morning  Why do I keep these items that I know I have NOT worn and probably will NOT wear? I admit I tend to hold on to it because maybe, just maybe I will wake up one day and want to wear it… it’s the clothing “what ifs” that lurk in my closet! I’ve decided that if it has been at least a year and the clothing has gone unworn then it is time to part our ways.. no more what ifs!
  4. Dress to Impress. When I find myself having trouble picking out something to wear I realized, am I dressing to impress…. myself or everyone else? Does it really matter what other people think of my outfit? No, all that matters is what I think of myself and if I put together an outfit that reflects my style and personality then that is what is important.
  5. Use and Reuse. Confession: I re-wear my jeans a couple of times before I wash them. Yikes, I said that out-loud! I did this even before the fast. But it never occurred to me that this was remotely possible for shirts/cardigans. Apparently it is. Does anyone notice? Nope. Now obviously clothing does get dirty and smelly, but unless that is the case people have no idea. I’ll be honest, I do not intend on continuing this with my shirts now that the fast is over, but I definitely learned that this was possible and the world won’t end.
  6. Just a little Stain. I’m messy! I learned this about myself early in life but it was definitely amplified during this month when I continued to spill food on my very limited wardrobe. I think it is time for me to face the facts and make a conscious effort to be more careful when I eat.
  7. Take Notice. I think it is human nature for us to think that other people think about us more than what is actually true. The fact of the matter is that people think about me and my wardrobe far less than I would tell myself is the case… like when I am picking out clothing for the day and I tell myself that I just wore that last week, the truth is i am probably the only one who will remember that! And honestly if people do notice your clothing it’s not very often someone is going to tell you that you just wore that item… no one said that to me and I had bright, pretty obvious shirts that I continued to repeat.
  8. Less IS More. I survived an entire month on seven articles of clothing and you know what I realized? The world continues, nothing fell apart, and I am satisfied with far less than what I have. The closet full of clothing is a blessing that I do not take lightly anymore, but I can live on a fraction of what is in that closet and be satisfied.
  9. Give More. With this new realization that I can have a wardrobe made up of far less than what I actually have and the numerous items going unused in my closet I want to give away these items more often. Why hoard my clothing for the what ifs? Instead give them to someone who needs them more than I do. I am also finding myself wanting to simply reduce my wardrobe to find a more simple closet not filled with excess. This closet will be purged!
  10. Carry on Luggage. We went on vacation during this fast and you know what I figured out? I always OVER pack! There is simply no reason for me to bring as much stuff as I usually do. Toss a few items in a bag and be done with it! Hand washing an item in a hotel sink if it gets dirty is not the worst thing and it certainly will not ruin the vacation. Less luggage is very freeing on a trip!

Month one has come to a close and now it’s time to begin the next fast of this journey. Month two- the stress fast, spending seven times a day in prayer and reflection to focus less on stress. This begins on Monday!

I have mentioned a few times about the decision that Chase and I have made to become more strict with our finances and work to be debt free. It’s exciting to think about the result of not being weighed down each month with those bills. But, its intimidating and at the moment frustrating. Currently with birthdays, holidays and what not approaching it feels like there is a need for money, the money that we are trying so hard to really be disciplined with. I see money going but it feels like it’s not coming in. I know that God will provide, I have no doubt of this, I just have to remind myself sometimes. Today I came across a poem for times when we are discouraged and it really hit home with me about this issue. I love when God brings things to our attention just when we need to hear it most!

Never Be Discouraged by Helen Steiner Rice

There is really nothing we need to know or even try to understand.

If we refuse to be discouraged and trust God’s guiding hand.

So take heart and meet each minute with faith in God’s great love,

Aware that every day of life is controlled by God above…

And never dread tomorrow or what the future brings,

Just pray for strength and courage and trust God in all things.

And never grow discouraged be patient

 and just wait for “God never comes too early and He never comes too late!”

Photo Credit: Nathan Friedly 

20111003-150842.jpgPurses, handbags, wallets and even diaper bags are items that moms find themselves carrying around on a regular basis. When you pick out your purse or any of the other similar items I just mentioned you are probably looking for a few things. Of course you want it to be practical and have features you like such as zipper, snap, buttons or any combination. But, a big reason is obviously if we like it or not… do we think its cute, stylish and so on. Did you ever think that when picking out one of these items you would have to consider if it is toxic or not? I never thought about whether my purse was toxic until now. The purses, handbags, wallets and even diaper bags that we carry on a daily basis are now beginning to be tested for traces of lead. Lead! Isn’t that only supposed to be an issue with paint? That’s what I thought. But no, now we have to be concerned about the everyday item we have on our shoulders! I have written a post about this issue for Green Oklahoma, Toxic Purses. Check it out, you might be surprised!

 

The last couple of days have been a little busy, which is why I haven’t had the chance to make a new post. My husband works for Lifechurch.tv and it was the annual family reunion where all the staff and spouses come together to fellowship and worship God, it was great! So glad I was able to be there. If you have followed some of the latest posts a continuing theme that has started in my family is the calling God has placed on our lives to be debt free. This is an overwhelming and in a way scary thing because we really don’t know exactly how that looks for us. How He is going to make it happen. But, I know that it will. Between last weekend at church and then this week at the family reunion there are two key points that have been placed on my heart. The first is that God is in control no matter what! The second is that we dream to small! God can do far more than we could ever dream! Chase and I dream to be debt free, not only that but we dream to do this in five years. We have no idea how that will happen, but He does because His dreams are far bigger than ours! We sang this song last weekend at church after a long conversation Chase and I had about our finances. I could not get past the first verse before breaking into tears! It truly said what was on my heart. The first video is how the song was written and the second is the full song.

God I look to You by Jenn Johnson

God I look to You, I wont be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You, Youre where my help comes from
Give me wisdom; You know just what to do

I will love You Lord my strength
I will love You Lord my shield
I will love You Lord my rock forever
All my days I will love You God

Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns forever
All my days Hallelujah

Faith: Road Blocks

September 27, 2011 — Leave a comment

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 (NIV) 

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV) 

This past weekend at church something that my pastor said really stood out. He was talking about when we are trying to do what God has called us to do it often feels like we take two steps forward and three steps back. I know this is true for our family as we are trying to get out of debt. For instance, it was only a few months ago that we had to buy a new air conditioning unit for the house. That was a pretty penny I was not happy about. We felt the calling to be debt free, start making changes and then that happens. Of course that is only one example. I know I am not alone in feeling this way either. We have friends who are experiencing similar situations, God leading them to do something and they continually feel like they are hitting road blocks. It’s a very frustrating situation. But what I have to keep telling myself is that these things are happen because we are listening and being obedient to God, if we were not there would be no reason for objection because we would be doing exactly what Satan would want, not being obedient to God. So no matter the struggles we face, as long as we are on the path that God has called us on we can find comfort. Believe me though, I am right there with everyone else, I  can still find it hard to hold on to that comfort because lets face it, two steps forward and three back is never easy! So with that said my husband and I are still making financial changes and seeking God’s wisdom about how to become debt free and I am going to do my best to find His comfort because I know we are doing what He has called us to do!

 

Photo Credit: Brad Folkens