Today marks the final day of my no-shopping challenge. When I started at the beginning of the year, I was fairly confident it was doable and fully confident it would be painful.
I was surprised.
What I’ve learned most this year is that going without, when you already have so much, is not only doable, but easy. I can probably count on one hand the number of times this year that not buying something was actually really difficult.
Instead, this whole experience was liberating.
I’ve been challenged to live simply, to give more and to consume less. It sickens me how much stuff I bought that I didn’t need; how retail therapy was such a go-to thing for me and how stress inducing that rollercoaster of see-want-consume-see-want-consume is.
My strict no shopping days are over but I’m also determined to guard myself against ‘relapse.’ I’m a convert. Consumerism no longer holds me and I hope that I’ll live a more simple giving-focused life for many years to come.
My journey isn’t over. I already have a plan for next year’s project (stand by), but I want to put out this challenge:
Make 2016 your year of killing consumerism. I did it. You can too. All you need is to make the decision and you’re 80% of the way there.
We all love people we can trust. As a kid, I could always trust my dad to keep his promises. He’d even keep promises he hadn’t officially made. Sometimes in the morning, we’d ask him, “Dad, can we go for a bike ride tonight when you get home from work?” He’d inevitably respond with some variant of “We’ll see” but more often than not, when he got home, he’d tell mum “I promised the kids I’d go bike riding with them tonight.”
Things like that have a lasting impact on kids. You respect people whom you can trust. But can you trust yourself?
I was talking to my class this week about goal setting. It is often the case that in order to get to where you want to be in life, you have to have a plan. But more important than having a plan, is having the ability to stick to it.
I asked the students: If you promise yourself that you’re going to do something, do you actually do it?
Making promises to myself is something that I take pretty seriously. It’s hard to respect a person who doesn’t deliver on their word, so how can we have self-respect if we’re constantly letting ourselves ‘off the hook’ when we’ve previously determined to do something?
If you want to be a trustworthy person, you’ve got to keep your promises, and not just those you make to other people. If you tell yourself you’re going to do something, do it!
This is one of the big questions that I wrestle with often in my life.
A pastor at my church once asked me something that I never forgot, and that has come back to mind many times since: “Sarah, whose kingdom are you building?”
So often, in fact I’d even say on a daily basis, I am consumed with building my own kingdom. I find myself orchestrating things to make my life better, to achieve some kind of greatness of my own.
But you know what? That’s not what I was saved for. I was saved to be a living sacrifice, to be a faithful worker in the building of His kingdom. I was saved to lay down my life and let Him build it as He desires.
I was convicted this morning about laying down my own plans for my life. It is so easy to become reliant on self and to become proud of what we achieve ‘on our own.’ (As if we could do anything on our own!) It’s so difficult to humble ourselves before God, but, as one of my pastor’s said yesterday, when we give everything up for the sake of His kingdom over our own, we discover that He knows how to bless us far beyond anything we ever could have constructed for ourselves.
Let God build your life, He’s guaranteed to do a better job.