I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord.
This year my Lord called me to give up shopping for 3 months straight, a little thing called “The Contentment Challenge.” I read about this challenge from some faith bloggers and finally, I made the commitment.
God was calling me deeper into Him, to find my joy in my relationship with Him – not in things or appearances. 2017 was the year.
Now, I’m not going to lie, I was scared. Was I ready to look at my financial spreadsheets? Was I ready to look at my vanity and selfishness in the eyes? What if I failed?
I could write a whole book about what this little challenge did to my heart. For now, I’ll just list some questions and answers it gave me.
- Invest in others. I always say “I love others” but I only spent money and time on myself. I set a new goal for myself: find ways to participate in people’s lives relentlessly. This means a phone call, a card, a meal, an invitation. I don’t want my relationships to be observed via social media. I want to invest.
- Turn my anxieties into obedience. This challenge was not a “cure all.” I wasn’t little-miss-perfect during this time and I struggled with handling anxieties that crept up. This time spent saving money, thinking long-term, and praying brought up hard questions. Am I making good career choices? When will I be able to buy a house? Am I adulting well enough? Though I still struggle with these hard questions, this challenge reminds me of one crucial truth: My joy is in His promise – not in a house or job title.
- Take action. Find community. For years I have “church hopped,” hoping to find a community that fit. I am Catholic and have always been part of bible study classes and groups. I struggled finding a church in Nashville that offered the tradition I sought AND a lively ministry and community. I am now part of a new, welcoming church community. I am excited that this contentment challenge opened up my heart to this church and making new friends.
- I’m going to talk about God. I work in politics, I’ve been trained to keep my Christianity to myself. Coupled with my fears that people would find me “preachy” or a “prude,” have all stopped me from bringing God up in conversations. This challenge taught me that my faith is not something that I could tip-toe around. I cannot talk to anyone about life without talking about my faith. I can’t give boy, career, or health advice without turning to my light and solid foundation. Why wasn’t I going out as often? Why did my lifestyle change so much? Why did I seem so happy? It’s all Him!
Lord, help me to always push myself aside and make room for You. I don’t have all of the answers but this contentment challenge opened my heart and I am thankful for all that I learned and am learning. This challenge continues.