October 18, 2012 in Simple Stories
Thanks so much to Kathryn for sharing her simple story today. And such a cute picture! (her blog is super cute too).
That’s the term my husband used.
I’m grateful now to share it in past tense: He called me that. For the first ten years of our marriage, he had every reason to.
The debit card in my hand was the stick and the endless desires in my heart, the knife. A few dollars here, a tiny something from the secondhand store there. I never spent too much on anything too big. Just small things. No harm done.
Well, not exactly.
I secretly wore that title like a badge of honor. What it meant to me was that I always spent a little at a time. I was a bargain hunter extraordinaire, Queen of the clearance section, thrift store maven.
My husband is a social worker, I was teaching preschool part-time and we were raising two young girls. I thought I was stretching the budget, making it count and finding creative ways to ensure we didn’t go without.
What I didn’t want to admit was that all the little spending was adding up. And it wasn’t the bill I paying at the register that had the highest cost. It was the price I paid trying to find my peace and worth in stuff.
Matthew 6:20: Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.
I heard that on Sunday mornings. But Monday through Friday, you could find me digging through sale ads or surfing online outlets. My head heard the message, but my heart still didn’t get it. I was still storing up for myself clothes, knickknacks, jewelry, house décor. Still desperately trying to pad my life and make it as comfortable as possible. To avoid any feeling of sacrifice.
Except, there is a terrible cycle with getting what you want. It doesn’t matter if the thing costs fifty cents or $500, it never satisfies the way you think it will. There is thrill in the getting. But, it doesn’t last. Getting becomes an addiction and stuff is the drug.
Like any addict, I needed to keep getting my fix to keep feeling good. There was never enough, because as my pastor often reminds our congregation and Miss Minimalist beautifully reiterates, things just don’t deliver on their promises.
Stuff breaks, wears down, depreciates, goes out of style and takes up time and energy to maintain.
Rather than adding value to my life, I found that things took it away because I spent most of my time consumed by concerns for my stuff—how to take care of it, replace it, upgrade it.
I remember walking out of the thrift store one day with a bag full of “finds” and realizing I felt emptier than before I walked in. In that moment, I knew it was time for a change.
That was nearly three years ago, and my approach to stuff today is drastically different.
I don’t go looking for things anymore. My husband and I decide together what we need and agree on how our money is spent and saved. And we teach our children by example that joy and worth isn’t found in what you own.
In 36 months, I’ve pared down my beauty supplies to essentials, taken a stab at Project 333 which helped me view my wardrobe in an entirely new way, sold and donated numerous items that were cluttering our home and sought to make by hand what I would have previously bought ready-made in the store.
There have even been seasons when I’ve given up spending money on non-essentials altogether. Just to more clearly recognize how few needs I have compared to wants.
When I find a great deal now, it’s easier to pass up if I know the item will not fulfill a specific purpose in my life. I can see the benefit of not owning things, avoiding the effort and worry of caring for more than is necessary and, instead, allowing more to be available for others.
I owe a lot of inspiration to blogs like this one, to a fabulous book, Abundant Simplicity: Discovering the Unhurried Rhythms of Graceby Jan Johnson. And I owe the Lord all for the real miracle of changing my heart and empowering me to let go of what doesn’t matter to embrace the more that does.
Thank you so much, Lorilee, for welcoming me to your corner of the web today! You are doing amazing work here.
Bio: I’m Kathryn. I’m Kat. I’m a wife and a mother. I’m a lover of Jesus, coffee and cheap red wine. I’m a little OCD, a lot recovering perfectionist. I’m a worship leader, a homemaker and a writer at House No. 2. I require solitude and grace in heavy doses. And in pretty much every way imaginable, I am a girl in progress. Period. I would love to meet you and tweet with you!
Thanks so much Kathryn for sharing! I can totally relate to this
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