Thursday, April 20, 2006


As a sixth grader I had a huge desire to wear a certain type of tennis shoes, Keds. Then seventh grade came and it was all about the brand Espirit and Guess, followed by ZCavaricci and Jaboe. Later in junior high it became all about the purses. I never had a Dooney & Burke purse, my parents did not spend a lot of money on name brand things for me. But since a lot of the other girls had these things, the "want" was always there. Then came high school and friends began getting cars and some were given brand new cars. I was happy just to have a car even if it was old. But watching friends pull up in a BMW or Toyota Celica made it sometimes more difficult to be content. As a single adult, I looked forward to not caring about all of the material stuff and for some reason I had some delusion that adults were more mature and didn't get caught up in things like that. Soon, I learned that was just not possible. Many of my friends even as an adult had parents that still paid their bills and allowed them to use their credit card for shopping. I had to work and I did not have any freebies! But still I struggled with wanting more.

Now as a thirty year old wife and stay at home mom, I still find myself struggling at times. We moved into the home we live in currently a little over eight months ago. There is a ton of stuff I would love to change in this house or add to this house. My couch is against a huge wall that is desperate for a picture from Kirkland's or HObby Lobby. My furniture is fine but I wouldn't mind having something new. I want to get rid of all of the carpet and put in wood floors like we did at our old house but it's just not possible right now. There is nothing wrong with wanting a nice home or wanting nice things. I love to decorate and if I had the money I would be buying things for my home all the time. From elementary to junior high and high school to single life to now being a stay at home mom, there are still trends that come and go. Women love to shop, it's in us, we were born to shop. But, often many women become consumed with wanting more. Now at my age and in my stage of life it's no so much about the brands. I can go to Target, buy and outfit and look like I paid a lot. But it doesn't stop with clothes. Women do it with their homes, their kids, their husband's, their SUV's, their entire life. Women want the world to see them a certain way and do everything possible to keep up with everyone else no matter what the cost.
If it sounds like I am preaching, I am only writing things that the Lord gives me. I will never speak about something that I myself have not dealt with.

It's no longer about Keds and Guess jeans. It's about furniture, your kid's school, the school district, the home builder that built your house, the neighborhood you live in, your husband's job, your husband's salary, your vacations, your minivan or SUV. Oh and let's not forget the kid's soccer team, piano lessons, ballet lessons and name brand clothes! Even as I type this, I feel an ouch coming on. I love buying clothes for my kids and I struggle with wanting them to have the best looking outfits and my husband looking stylish. I want my home to be beautiful, I want to have a nice vehicle, I want my kids to dress cute, I want to live in a nice neighborhood and be in a good school district. Those things I have. But what is behind me motivation? Can those things be sanctified?

If you know me at all, you know I love clothes and shoes. I also love buying things for my house. But we are in a season where I am not able to do a lot of shopping. In the past I could go to the grocery store and within reason, I could buy whatever I needed. Now I have to really plan out my menu for the week. Josiah is going to be taking swimming lessons in June and we can't afford it, so we have a grandparent that has offered. This year we did not have the money for me to buy a new outfit for Easter. Usually I would push it, I would force a way for me to be able to buy something. In the past, I would even have thrown a fit about it until my husband agreed. During this time I have had to learn what is important. It's not my clothes, my furniture, my neighborhood, my kid's school, my SUV. I can have those things but can they be sanctified?

It started long ago with Eve. She wasn't content. As women we want more! We long to have something to look forward to. We live for the events! And we look around at what other women have and we want it so we go out and get it. I wrote a blog along time ago on my old blog site about magazines. My husband knows that the best gift for me would be a magazine subscription. About a month ago, the Holy Spirit convicted me about the magazines I was choosing to read. I always knew deep down that the magazines were not helping me but I never really paid attention to that voice inside (the Holy Spirit) telling me, "NO". But a month ago, I listened. Standing in a grocery store I would find myself totally and completely taken by magazines at the check out counter. Many times I came home with US Weekly, People Magazine, InStyle, Lucky or Redbook. I was obsessed with looking at what the Stars were wearing or obsessed with reading about Jessica Simpson's divorce or TomKat's baby. While cooking supper I would make sure the TV was turned to EXTRA on NBC so I could hear the latest Celebrity Gossip. As I watched the celebrities on TV and looked at them in the magazines, I always felt discontent. Instead of being content with what I had, I began to notice what I didn't have.

The Lord has just showed me that the things that I really want and desire in this world have to be able to be SANCTIFIED. I can be fashionable, I can have a nice home, but how can I have those things and not let it rule who I am? Can I have those things and still strive for purity and holiness? I have always been a frugal shopper. The name brand clothes that my kids wear are always, always found on a clearance rack. For me, that's how I have to shop so I look for the best deals. As far as my house is concerned, I have to save for things I want to buy. In the past, I would just use a credit card to make sure I got it. My desires would overtake me and I would buy too much, too often. But the Holy Spirit has showed me that I have to have limits, I have to be more concerned with the condition of my heart than the condition of my fashion. My home could be beautiful with extravagant things, but if it's not focused and centered on Jesus, it's ugly.

A few weeks ago I prayed that the Lord would give me a bitter taste for things in this world. Each day He is showing me something new that won't fit in my life. So today as I share my struggles with you, I pray that you will examine your own life and ask God to reveal to you what it is you need to change. Since I have shared so much already, I leave you with a prayer that I am praying today for myself. I know that if I put it out there and share it with you, I will be better at staying accountable to God's call on my life. His call requires me to set myself apart from many things in this world. How do I do that? Well, God is showing me right now!

God, I thank you for allowing me to hear your voice. I pray that you will continue to show me things that I need to change or things that I no longer need to be a part of or take part in. Please continue to do the work for me. If you give me a bitter taste for things of this world, then I won't even want it. The water that the children of Israel found was bitter so they had to wait for you to provide water they could drink. Please do the same in my life. Help me to realize instantly what is bitter! From the inside out, mold me into a woman who will honor you. When choosing clothes to wear, help me to be modest. When spending, help me to spend wisely. When listening to music, help me to be aware of the lyrics. With movies, show me if I even need to go! As you change me, change my husband. Please get us on the same page Father. God, please convicted me when my conversations are not positive. Use me Lord, use me! Thank you Jesus, thank you!


mighty minne said...

Amanda ... that is so beautiful. I can relate though. I think sometimes people shop to fill their cup and end get getting into trouble that way. Instead they need to ask got to help them and help them stop buying things that will only make them feel good for a little while.Material things dont last forever and the same thing with feeling of having to have. Like I SAID God showed me this very same thing a few years ago. I can honestly say I am okay. I treasure all that I have because of God.

V. said...

I had a real eye-opener on this topic when we had to clean out my Grandpa's house after he died.

You know what his 'stuff' was worth? Practically nothing.

You can put in a garage sale, advertise in the paper, even take it to auction. Fact is...your stuff is worth nothing in the second hand market.

...ever try selling kid's clothes or toys at a yard sale? You might sell one or two things, but you are always left with WAY too much to take back into the house.

I took Grandpa's library...a bunch of great evangelical books and about 10 bibles and commentaries...THAT is about all that was worth it.

What does that say?


Danyelle said...

This is an area that is not my biggest struggle. However, I have to keep it at bay because the temptations are there! Here is how I deal with the temptations: I remind myself often of the homeless who have nothing. I remind myself of the ones who daily live in poverty. I remind myself of the 3rd world countries like in Africa and in Mexico and in Russia. I am blessed to not have to deal with the extremes they have to deal with like clean water, bathing, living conditions, appropriate for the weather clothing. However, how close am I to living the same way as they are? It wouldn't take much to put me in the same position. A country crisis, financial crisis, etc.
Therefore, I count my blessings and remind myself - "though I may not have the BEST clothing, or hair do, or house decor or vehicles - I have these things and they serve their purpose. That is what I need." God promised to provide the needs and I am grateful he does so for my kids, husband and myself. Matt 6:33 says to seek him first and your needs will be met. What a challenge it is to fight the selfishness, but how freeing it is to conquer it moment by moment.