LIFESTYLE

Contentment Challenge

7:24 AM


Friends, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter with your family and loved ones. I’m finally sitting down to process the challenges that God is calling me towards and to invite you into this journey that I am taking called the Contentment Challenge.

A few days ago, I posted on Instagram that my husband and I were going to be pursuing the “Contentment Challenge”. I first saw this on Nancy Ray’s blog back in 2016 (Yes, this challenge has been on my heart for THREE years!) And you can read her latest post on it here: https://nancyray.com/blog/2018/11/28/contentment-challenge-2019

I’ve always had this challenge on the back of my mind but never pursued it. I knew I needed to do it but always convinced myself that I was disciplined enough to harbor my spending and denied that I, in fact, was NOT in control of my spending (along with numerous other areas of my life).
To give you an idea of how I got to this point, I want you to come back with me to last Fall. Joe and I had just come back from a summer in Boston and I was looking for a new job. God blessed me very quickly with a job where I was making multiple factors more than I had been making at my previous job. All of a sudden, our budget opened up and we had more than we were used to. My head told me to be a responsible steward with my money and tuck away 20% into our savings (which we did) but we still had a lot of room to work with. We had money to do whatever we wanted and I have to admit, I probably let myself go a little too far on many occasions. Looking back, I regret not using more of this money to further the Kingdom, to help those in need, etc. Alas, my flesh is weak and the pull of this world is strong. I let myself do whatever I wanted the first three months of 2019. I took multiple vacations, had multiple shopping sprees, had lavish date nights, etc. and then one day, I was enjoying a pleasant night in with my husband in our new home and feeling grateful and it all hit me in my face and I felt sick to my stomach.

We had just moved into a new home and I was happy, truly happy. I was grateful to God for all of the blessings that he had provided to us. I was happy because I felt like I was an adult and that was when I realized how immature I still was and how selfish I had been. I look a long deep look at where my heart was and realized that I was not in the right place spiritually. My flesh was weak and this was evident in the way that I had been turning to material things. We had been blessed financially but I had not been utilizing it in the way that I knew I should! 

“God does want us to have wealth.. so that we can steward and transform the earth” – one of my friends said this to me and it really resonated with where I felt my heart needed to be. I have prayed over this and finally, feel like I am in a place where God is truly calling me to taken contentment in Him and let go of my worldly possessions. I’m going to be taking a page out of Nancy’s book for this challenge with a few tweaks.. so here we go. The contentment challenge is going three months without purchasing items, clothes, house decor, anything that is not a necessity, etc. 

THE GUIDELINES

  • ·        For the next 7-10 days, your homework is the following: prepare your heart, organize your closet, and make any necessary purchases that you might need during these months. (This is not a last minute shopping spree! This is one final trip to the store for items you will need).
  • ·         Choose 1-3 inspiring books to read during this time.
  • ·         Gifts are okay! If someone gives you a new dress or piece of d├ęcor during this time, receive it graciously! If you need to buy someone else a gift, by all means, do so. The point is not to be rude, but to learn more of ourselves and the Lord.
  • ·         Necessities are okay! If you break your phone, go get a new one. If you lose your glasses, buy a new pair. Just don’t start justifying purchases for items you already have.
  • ·         Food: please buy food for yourself and your family. For Joe and I, eating out has been an area where we feel called to reel back. We will be maintaining our date nights (because this one helps our marriage tremendously) but will have a strict budget so that we will have to use our creativity to pursue date nights in ways that don’t just involve eating out.
  • ·         You must actively pursue something – anything – that replaces your tendency to buy stuff. Begin thinking about doing something you love or a hobby you’ve always wanted to do and make preparations to actually do it.
  • ·         We didn’t want to completely isolate ourselves from our social circles (which often times happen in settings where money is to be spent!) so we have allotted a budget so that we can celebrate our friend’s on their birthdays, purchase gifts for them, etc. Basically, if it is blessing others and not ourselves we don’t see it as an issue but it will have to be done within the budget. We are also going to take strides to meet our social circles in settings where we don’t have to spend money (ie, cook dinner and have them over for the night, etc.)
  • ·         Our anniversary falls within the 3 months we will be doing the Contentment Challenge. We will still be celebrating it but I just won’t be able to do the things I usually would (aka buy new outfits for the entire weekend, etc. and we will probably not be doing gifts because we are pursuing no further material items during this time. However, we are not going to limit experiences.

I know that God is calling out to me, begging me to lean on Him and to take joy in Him. I think every life-changing encounter I have had with God has always come at a time when I feel defeated or am fully convicted like I was this time. I think it’s time to stop acting like a child and stop using our money just because we have it. Now is the time to buckle down on our financial goals, become debt-free, and pursue a future where we can be stable and take care of our children and parents if that time comes.

It’s hard for me to share my flaws with you all and my testimony stems from pursuing and learning to let go of perfection. But I do share this with you all because my original intent of this blog has always been to uplift, encourage, and to share the love of God. I hope if anything that this encourages you and allows you to receive a different perspective and I do have one thing to ask: I ask that you keep us in your prayers as we pursue this challenge. Truthfully it will be challenging, it will stretch me outside of my comfort zone, but my greatest hope is that I would draw nearer to the Lord during this time. Contentment Challenge here we come!



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