by est33

~A few months ago, God asked me to do something. I blogged along the way, but did not publish them, because it was kind of a private thing. Now that I am at the end, I am excited to share what I did and how God changed me. So without further ado…

Part 1 – September 2, 2010
I am starting this blog in September, although I won’t post it until January of next year. I am generally not good at keeping any kind of journal, but this is something that I think will be important for me to look back on, and hopefully will be interesting to others. Let me start at the beginning…
Two weeks ago I was flying home from a family vacation in Cape Cod. Phil and I were on different plane, and it was the first time I had flown alone in a long time. I can’t believe I used to think flying was boring! It was five of the most relaxing hours of my life. I journaled, did my devotions, prayed, cried, and read a book called “Radical” by David Platt. In it he records his personal challenge to live radically for Jesus and in turn challenges the reader. The word ‘radical’ gets thrown around a lot in the church, but it never really stuck like it did when I read this book. He addresses money, lifestyle, martyrdom, and puts the American church up against the Gospels. I cried a lot, but I am happy to say that I think Phil and I are already on the same page. I didn’t feel convicted that my lifestyle was not radical. (I cried the most during the chapter of practical ways to live radically, blessed that God had already moved us to do so many of the examples Pratt gave!) Instead, I felt challenged to live more radically. And I felt like God asked me to not spend any money on myself for three months.
Now, to chronicle this journey is something that I think will be useful in the future. But I can’t post this as I write them because there would always be this ulterior motive. “Maybe if someone sees how self sacrificing I am, they would buy me some things I need or want.” So I will post this in January, and hope that people read it 🙂
It’s easy for me to make hard decisions. I just try not to count the cost and do what is right! So when God asked me to do this, I said yes instantly. I am a good obey-er. Of course, following through is where I struggle. So when I got home, I started realizing how hard this would be. I imagined that God meant new clothes, fun makeup, accessories, shoes…things that I buy for my pleasure that I could do without. But the very next day, I went to youth group and wanted to buy some gum and a twix bar (I hadn’t had dinner and that sounded really good!). I saw a student, invited her to run to the am/pm with me, and picked out my candy. We get to the counter, and Laura buys my things for me. A 16-year-old, buying a $3 purchase for a 28-year-old. The complete reversal of what usually happens! I thanked her, but still completely clueless about how this related to what God had asked of me the day before. It was not until I was sitting in chapel that I had the revelation that God had kept me from breaking my promise on day 1!! Which led to another revelation – he wanted me to abstain from buying things I think of as necessities. (Not that a twix bar is a necessity, but it was my dinner.)
So how far does this go? Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant? What can I buy, and what should I not? I’m not even sure! I know that I don’t want to be sneaking in and stealing Sierra’s shampoo. This isn’t a lesson in surviving with no money. It’s not even a lesson in living on less in order to save more (which is what I originally thought.) It’s a lesson in trusting God to provide, with a side benefit of saving money!
I didn’t know if I should tell Phil, but I realized it would be weird if I didn’t. Of course, I don’t want him buying me things that I want in lieu of me buying them. But I also don’t want a “secret” between us, that is going to affect my every day life. So he’s in on it. Without planning it this way, we ended up doing normal grocery shopping together, and Phil even did some alone while I was at work. I generally do the shopping alone, but since Phil beat me to it, I was saved from the temptation of buying things that would be just for me. Thanks Phil!
How this has affected me so far:
*Part of me is really thankful to have this challenge over the next few months. It saves a lot of time and heartache for lack of a better word. Knowing that I can’t buy anything keeps me from even looking. I don’t go on Gap.com or into the clothes section of Target. And if I don’t see things I want, then I don’t want anything. I really do already feel more content. Secondly, I am forced to be more creative with what I have. I am pulling out old home decor items to change up our family room. I am finding new ways to wear old clothes. It’s kind of fun!
*I want to make sure that I am doing what God asks, but not being legalistic and making this some kind of holy crusade and taking it too far. I want to be prayerful about what God really wants in these three months, and what he wants to teach me.
Stay tuned for Part 2!