That IS the title of a great new movie out right now and watching it was also the way I started “lent” this year. Lent is actually a Catholic thing, but something I’ve continued to see as important since switching from Catholicism to a bit more modern form of Christianity. I mean, regardless of what church you attend, it states in the Bible, that Jesus sacrificed on the cross for US for 40 days and therefore it is a way to honor him by “sacrificing” something for HIM. We always gave up something for lent as kids (usually candy) and I always thought of it as torture and I ALWAYS cheated!
So, this year I actually started lent early (last Sunday), it really starts this Wed “Ash Wed,” and will continue until Easter. That’s 8 weeks! Guess what I gave up? I gave up shopping for anything that is not a necessity. This is really a HUGE challenge for me, but something I desperately need to do for so many more reasons than just it being lent. I am not sure I’ve ever gone 8 days without buying something I didn’t really need, much less 8 weeks, and for the past 12 years (basically since I started making my own money), I have been addicted to shopping and “stuff” has consumed my life. It was almost an obsession. Believe it or not, its also the one thing I HATE the most about myself, the one thing that has caused the most problems in my life, (financially, emotionally, relationally etc.). It is the first thing I have always turned to for happiness and it is always the one thing that has made me the most unhappy. I have tried and tried to conquer this “addiction,” but continued to fail. Over the past couple of years, I have gotten better…..probably because there is so much else in my life to fullfil me, but am still sickened when I think of all the damage it has caused and all it CAN cause. NO WAY will I allow it to continue. God has spoken to me about this many times and I have always pushed what I thought was simply guilt, aside so I could have it my way and have what I wanted. The more I grow in my relationship with the Lord, the more I realize how sinful (not to mention selfish) this kind of lifestyle is. I have been on the outside looking in on others with similar “issues” and it disgusts me so much. I don’t want to be that person ANY more.
Wow! More information than many of you cared to read, but I figured the majority of you reading this already know this about me (even if you haven’t made it evident). So, what better way to begin the process of change than doing it for God at a time of year he did it for us. If I can do it for him, then ultimately I am doing it for myself at the same time. I’ve learned that 8 weeks is a good milestone to reach when trying to break a habit (or start a new routine- like exercise). If you can go 8 weeks, it makes you want to continue, and want to set more goals (small or large). I know I can do it and the transformation within has already begun. I feel so much more free! To quote the end of the movie, “Its amazing what you have time for when you are not shopping!” Those FREE things are all the things that truly mean the most, and all things that will never “hurt” you or cause damage. For those of you (Mom and Dad especially) who have been trying for years and years to get me to this realization- I think I just may have finally “GOT IT!” The pastor at our church has said numerous times, “Its OK to want nice things, but these wants can not be the focal point of your life. If they are, it can be disastrous (as it was for me for SO long), and when they are NOT the focal point, then you will realize more and more all that you already have and appreciate it all so much more that you won’t actually even “want” so much.
To HIM be all the glory! God continues to do amazing things in my life and its seems as though its always right at the breaking point that he steps in and takes over- forcing me to change and be just a little bit more like him. THANK YOU!
PS. During the next 7 weeks (it took the first week for the book to come in), I am reading a book that was recommended to me called “All I need is Jesus and a good pair of jeans!” Thanks Robyn! I think it will fit in perfectly.
And in case you didn’t catch it in the title, I have already made it one week without cheating!