Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thoughts about Nothing

Easter marked the end of 40 Days of Nothing at our house, our Lenten fast. The idea was that we would purchase nothing unless it was necessary or essential. That was the first problem.

What's absolutely necessary? Toilet paper? well, not in some places in the world....Soda? What about when I'm driving to Minnesota and need to stay alert? Easter shoes? While we stopped buying the random Wal-mart types of things, I found myself spending pretty much whatever I wanted at the grocery store....I mean, we need to eat, right?

So here's what God's been showing me this month...

1. When I want to spend money on something, it's often more about impressing someone else or making someone happy than really needing it: Coloring my hair, getting a new dress, random gifts for people, fixing up my house or getting new towels for when family visits.....

2. Once again, I often use convenience food as a way to stuff things....when I'm stressed, tired, frustrated.....whether it's a diet cherry pepsi with pellet ice* or a donut at the grocery store....it's usually stuff I just need to deal with, and eating doesn't make it go away.

(*As a service to my Springfield readers, you should know that 2 of the places where you can get a fountain drink with pellet ice are the BP on Stevenson Dr. (next to Denney's) and the Hucks at Parkway Point!!)

3. Stepping foot in a store is often too big a temptation for me. I lose my mind. When I walk into Walmart of Target, I suddenly feel like I "need" much more.

It was a difficult fast, for our whole family....not difficult to go without, but difficult to learn to say NO to all of the things we usually waste money on. So many options, so many opportunities to spend....this was something we had to think about several times every day. I hope we'll try it again sometime, and next time I might do a few things differently:

Think ahead for what special events will make it difficult and make arrangements beforehand (ex: Mission trip to Minnesota where we ate fast-food on the road and Easter/Birthdays)

For me, I need to set better guidelines for groceries - - Aldi brownie mix and chocolate chips? Necessary?

Instead of suffering through and thinking "only 14 more days until I can buy bathroom curtains", involve my family more in thinking of alternatives. Changing our lifestyle, not just sacrificing for a season. I would try to be creative in using Freecycle.org more and other bartering relationships.
Easter tells us that is isn't about our sacrifices or our piety - - Jesus paid the price for us on the cross. Thank God for that, because I stink at being faithful sometimes! But because of His great love for us, I desire to live a life that is an offering to Him... not an offering to the US Government Stimulus Package, or Target, or my own gratification....

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!!

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