Monday, September 24, 2012

Simplifying Life: A Wrap on Food and A Look At What Not To Wear

Well, I made it. Four whole weeks of NO Fast Food, NO Alcohol, NO Chocolate, NO Soda, NO Pork, NO Eating After 7pm, and Only ONE grocery trip per month. Boy, am I ecstatic that it's over. Seriously, I'm sooooo tired of telling myself NO on a daily basis. Not this it's not good for me. Goodness, I was becoming a bit of a fast-food-aholic and wondering if I was even able to de-stress without the help of some rum and juice in the evenings. Now I know the truth. I most definitely am able. But it's not nearly as fun. I missed chocolate. A lot. In fact, as I'm writing this post right now I am sitting in Barnes and Noble sipping on a caramel mocha and eating the biggest chocolate brownie I could find in this place. And let me also admit that I do not feel in the least convicted about this splurge. I have been fasting for FOUR WEEKS and I deserve it. Every last triple chocolate chunk.

In all seriousness, I have learned a lot from this fast in the food department. God has taught me so much about myself.  Mostly about will power and drawing strength from Him rather than myself.  Because I must say, this is not the first time that I have sought out to fast from (insert ANY of the following rules in here). Never once succeeding. I am a pathetic mess. This time was completely different. This time, I was doing it in order to see God in a different light. In order to step back and take a look at myself from a third party perspective. Truthfully, it wasn't always a pretty picture. I am quite the selfish, self-indulgent, frivolous, spoiled brat that I knew that I was. But I wasn't so much prepared to find out how little I thought about how my frivolousness looked to other people or how if I changed, it could not only make a difference in my life, but in the lives of so many whom I influence.

Refraining from anything for a season is going to change your view of that thing. Be it food, media, etc.  You see how little it affects you or how much enslaved to it you are.  I saw that I had a real addiction to convenience foods. I had a real problem with using food as stress relief instead of taking my worries to God and facing them head on. I've had to do that this month, and I have to say, I think that this process of four weeks has grown me in those ways. Food is nutrition. It is fuel and it is energy and nourishment.  It is not something to be taken advantage of. It's a blessing and a daily reminder of God's provision in my life. So many around the world lack this resource, struggling to survive on the little bit of food they can afford.  Some go to bed hungry and wonder where their next meal with come from. I will think about this fact every single time I go through my full cabinets and gripe about having nothing to eat. Shame on me for taking advantage of God's provision. I pray everyone has this type of revelation.

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for. . . .MONTH TWO: Fasting in the Area of CLOTHES!

I wrestled with the planning of this month. I read the Chapter in Jen Hatmaker's book on her clothes fast and told myself again and again, this woman is overzealous. There is no way in hades that I can choose only 7 articles of clothing and wear ONLY them for an entire 4 weeks!  Not gonna happen. But here I am and I've officially talked myself into it. Why not?!  Except that people might notice that I'm always in the same pair of jeans and t-shirt. . .They might assume that I never shower or do laundry. . .They might think I have no sense of fashion. . .They might think I'm just as crazy ridiculous at this Jen Hatmaker chick. . .OH my!  All are ridiculous thoughts and I finally had to extinguish these notions and decide if I really wanted to see God stir something up in me in this area (of beauty and outward adornment) then I needed to sell-out and just shut my trap. So that's what I'm doing.

Let's face it, on any given day you'll find me sporting my favorite OU/Thunder/youth group t-shirt and wholy jeans anyway.  I looked like a high school student that rolled out of bed, threw my hair in a ponytail, and marched out the door without a second thought. I like to think I still resemble a high school student in the age department as well, but I know I'm giving myself too much credit on that one. . .Anyhow, I'm a simple dresser, I would say. A lazy dresser who doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about my wardrobe.  Clothing doesn't seem to own me then, right? Though it may sound like I have this area under control, my closet, were it to be asked, would clearly tell you a whole other story!

On any given day, this one included, you can open up my walk-in closet and find not only clothes on every single wall, but also mounds and stacks of folded clothing in piles all around the floor.  That's not including the clothes in my double dresser.  Or the endless amounts of coats I have that spill out onto the floor when you open the closet in the entryway. It's overwhelming. What's even more overwhelming is that each and every item of clothing cost real money. I did some counting and averaging and if I spent $10 on each and every item in my closet, I am FLOORED at how much the totals reflect. I have approximately 400 articles of clothing in MY closet alone. I'm no mathematician, folks, but that amount is sickening. Especially when I only wear an eighth of the clothing that lines the walls in there.  So while I'm bragging about how little my wardrobe defines me as a person, for some reason I obviously can't seem to resist buying more and more. If I am serious about addressing overindulgence and irresponsible spending, I need to look no further than my own closet.

So here we go with Month Two: Simplifying Clothes.  I picked my seven articles of clothing yesterday, as I begun my 4 weeks for this phase today.  My seven articles are:

*Pair of dark jeans
*Thunder Basketball T-shirt
*Pair of thin black leggings
*Blue tunic
*Black running shorts
*Pastel Speckled Tunic Shirt
*Brown Old Navy T-shirt

There we have it. A few things that I am not counting as items. Shoes. This may sound like a cop-out, but to be quite honest, I will more than likely wear the same black or brown flats for the entire month. Nothing flashy. No heels, no sandals. Just plain and simple. Also, no jewelry, belts, hats, scarves, or coats. No frills. No problem.

I know what you may be wondering. . .Underwear does NOT count as an item. It's an essential.  I considered momentarily omitting undergarments, but unleashing my free-swinging lady bits on this innocent world is probably a felony.  Not one deserves that kind of visual assault.  So undergarments get a free pass, and if that makes me a 7 slacker, well, at least I'm a slacker wearing a bra.

That's the plan for now, friends. I'll be updating you on week one's progress and/or woes on Friday. I'm looking forward to finding out how God plans to shake things up using this time. Start praying now for my washer and dryer.  They have a hefty obligation to me this month!

Month Two: Clothes might just kill me. . .
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  1. You make me giggle! I love your posts. I seriously need to consider the food fast. I started feeling convicted after reading what you learned and thinking about my dependency on food. Being a recovered bulimic, I've always had a struggle with my outlook on food. I don't focus enough on how much food is a blessing and not a curse. But, since I am recovered from that part of my life, I've fallen victim to the convenience of fast food. It's just so much easier than waiting till you get home, especially when you have a toddler. But, that's not an excuse. Not sure when I'll take up this challenge, but I really want to do it.

    1. Lydia, you should read the book that I based my fast on. It's a short book and will really give you the motivation that you need. "7" by Jen Hatmaker!

  2. I was wondering if you lost weight or others in your family lost weight with those eating habits. I think I would if I did not eat after 7. I do not have a problem with wearing the same clothes but I admit I buy clothes more than I should. Perhaps a fast for me would not be wearing the same clothes but not buying any for one or two months.

  3. Mark,
    Unfortunately No, I have not lost the slightest bit of weight. Considering I was without alcohol, fast food, chocolate, pork, soda, etc for thirty days, you would think that I would have! But no, I don't advocate using a fast as a weightloss tool. Maybe that's another thing God wanted me to understand. :)