When I decided at the end of December to take on the Contentment Challenge, I didn’t realize what was in store for my heart.
I thought, “OH MY GOSH, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT UNNECESSARY TARGET SHOPPING SPREES!”
Or, “YOU MEAN I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY ONLINE SHOPPING HABIT FOR 90 DAYS?!?”
I imagined this would be a time of boredom, a period where I would lounge lazily at home while I practiced retail avoidance.
I didn’t realize that this challenge wasn’t only going to teach me how to better manage my finances and become content with what I have, but that it would also point out characteristics about myself that I never knew existed (or if I knew, I didn’t want to face).
As I walked through Target with my sister (who is also participating in the challenge) last Thursday, I noticed some pretty powerful self-talk was occurring. I was convincing myself I needed things. “Oh, of course I need those Dr. Seuss dry erase boards…the three’s will love them!” “Well, yeah, I need new foundation because the shade you currently have isn’t quite the right color for my skin tone.” “I have one tube of Burt’s Bees left, but it’s pomegranate, so of course I need a new one in the original flavor.” Needless to say, after that Target trip I began to evaluate places in my life and business where I’ve justified an expense because I thought it was something I needed. Wants, needs. Indeed, there is a difference. I have so many wants in my heart, so many things I long for. What I really need to do is cast my desires towards more important things. Things like relationships, with friends, with family, and with God.
I have also realized I have created in myself a habit of avoidance. I’m not sure when it started, but in hindsight it’s been around for a long time. During this period of attempted contentment, I decided to try to avoid any situation where I might be tempted to shop. It may sound like a good idea at first-to remove the temptation so I will be more likely to be successful, but I’ve realized that I avoid things when I’m afraid I might fail in several other aspects of my life. Instead, what I need to do is immerse myself in the very thing I fear so I can learn how to cope. Otherwise, how am I ever supposed to acknowledge my own weakness, or find strength in Him? Isn’t that what this challenge is about? How can I go to The Lord and allow him to be sufficient in my life if I don’t hive Him the chance to show up for me?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corintheans 12:9