Lessons from the Six Month Fast

It’s official. (drum roll, please) The end of Shopping Fast and Purge-the-House is upon me. On the one hand I’d like to run out and buy some of the boots I’ve been longing for. On the other hand it feels a little strange. After abstaining from commercialism personally for 6 months, I’m not overly eager to get back into it.

I have been thinking a lot about the point of some of my recent ventures. Wondering and questioning myself as to why I am even doing things like “purging seven items a day”. What is the point? Emma asked me the very question as we were setting items on the dining room table to photograph for tonight’s blog. I told her about how I wanted to help our family be free from materialism- loving things more than God or people. Then it hit me- my stuff is not my problem, my heart is. If I love my things more than God or his mission, it’s not because of the things themselves. In fact, you can be consumed with greed while living in poverty, or abundantly generous while living in plenty. I don’t need to purge items from my home, but idolatry from my heart, if I want to be free from materialism.

So was my experiment an unnecessary exercise? Foolish? I don’t think so. Because attachment to things is an outward symptom of an inner problem- so I suppose in some ways this experiment was exposing places in my heart that need exposing. The places I can usually overlook and rationalize. Every time I said no to my usual course of spending and accumulating stuff, I had to deal with the desires I was starving. There is no denying that my shopping or “treating myself” (as I like to call it) often flows out of frustration, exhaustion or insecurity. And while buying a new pair of boots will make me feel better momentarily, it’s not meant to be my primary source of comfort or encouragement. And far too often, it is. In fact, without shopping or getting little treats like a Sonic diet coke, I noticed I actually felt sorry for myself sometimes. As if it was a terrible thing to have a stressful day with no way to alleviate that stress. (Really?? I have the King of the Universe I can talk to any time, who has rescued me from all of my sin and death and I think I need something from Altar’d State to make me feel better?)

I’ll be the first to tell you I did not hold perfectly to my fast or purge. But since perfect is not my goal, and utterly impossible anyway, I am not concerned about that. I set out to see if by removing some of my normal life I could create a space for wanting more of Christ. And that was absolutely a success. Not in some noble, clouds parting and sunbeams shining on me kind of way. More in a cranky, annoyed, humbling realization that I am weak and tend to seek comfort and security in so many things besides God, and yet He loves me all the same. And from that awareness I am gratefully driven back to Him.

some of the 217 items we are selling from this month

proud of my whole family for joining the purge!

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