No-Shopping December

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My mind was turning during November . . . contemplating how much of my thought life is caught up in consuming.

I used to think it was a shameful thing that I liked shopping.

Okay, this was back in the day when I thought it was embarrassing to admit that I liked a boy, secretly liked pink but dressed in black instead, and thought I had to cover my derriere with oversized clothing because I didn’t know what the heck was up with this “being a girl” and “having a butt” thing.

Now, I can unashamedly say: I enjoy shopping.

(And I’m not disturbed by having a butt either–I’ve really matured that way. Yep.)

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

(The butt or the shopping.)

But there comes a point when it (the shopping) takes up too much brain power. Too much emotion. Too much thought-time.

Whether I’m shopping for myself, shopping for Alice or my husband, buying Christmas presents (which I finished buying in October–my favorite way to reduce stress during the actual holidays), shopping for our home, for something that would make hosting easier, for a baby shower or pregnant friend–there’s a lot of shopping that can potentially happen.

And one day in mid-November I realized it was consuming too much of me. It was becoming . . . dare I say . . . an idol. Something that gave me good feelings, something that (for example) I did on a certain day I was super stressed in order to deal.

Instead of turning to the strength of God, I turned to shopping.

Ugh! Can you believe I even said that?

Hmm . . . I can.

Anyway.

I don’t want to be the person who does emotional shopping, or who thinks about physical goods so much of the time. And especially now that we’re immersed in the holiday season, I also don’t want to be the person who misses the real celebration of Christ’s birth because she’s all caught up in materialism. So I decided–from what I think was a prompting of the Spirit–to abstain from shopping during the month of December. Of course I’ll buy groceries and associated things (shampoo, dishwasher soap, and the like)–but that’s it. I’ve started a fast to create more space in my heart to celebrate God. Christ’s birth. Family–both our physical and spiritual family. My marriage. My beautiful, growing daughter.

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It’s not about the money–I’m not worried about that (and what a reason to be thankful!). It’s about my heart, my brain, my state of mind. My freedom. And I’m learning that to live freely there is a big amount of self control that comes in to play. And my self control is in need of a nice, month-long workout.

And because saying “I won’t do this” is only half the issue, instead, I want to turn December into a month of giving and actually do something to take the place of what I’m giving up. It might be baking cookies for someone. Finding a way to serve those in need. I’ll give up something superficial in order to be able to give something more profound. Maybe this can be a thing every December–I’m already looking forward to engaging Alice in this project when she’s old enough. We’ll see. For now, here’s to a month of joyful giving rather than selfish consuming.

I still love ThredUP and will return there sometime in 2014. I don’t think shopping is the devil–I will probably always enjoy it. But, at the risk of sounding extreme, I do think it can be a tool of evil in our hearts. So I’m looking forward to this exercise. It will be a good stretch for the soul.

Love you guys!

4 thoughts on “No-Shopping December

  1. Sarah K

    I think this is a great idea. I’ve been feeling the need to make more space and time this advent season. I decided the biggest (and needless) pull on my time and energy was how much I was on Facebook. I’m doing a Facebook fast for advent with the hope that I’ll be able to use those spare moments better. I’m only a day in and I’m exhibiting all the typical signs of addiction withdrawal. It’s crazy! Anyway, I’m a fan of the concept of abstaining from something for a season in order to be more mindful and make space in my life for reflection.

    Reply
  2. Thekitchwitch

    How wonderful that you can just put that part of life on a shelf for a month! Liberating, right?

    We’re getting a (yikes) puppy for Christmas, so the only think I’m buying are books and little sweet treats for stockings as gifts this year.

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Whoa!! A puppy! You brave, brave woman. The girls will love him though, so I’m sure the joy will outweigh any, um, accidents on the rug. =)

      Reply
  3. Veronica

    I think it’s wonderful you recognized there was a problem and are dealing with it so gracefully. I really love it!! Christmas time can get way out of control, and I’ve suffered b/c of the skewed focus being on gifts before so I totally get where you’re coming from. I don’t know if I’d have the bravery to do absolutely no shopping, but I’m going to be close this year…no money! haha But God provides and we have what we need. Besides, we’ve already been given the greatest gifts we could ask for. Jesus Christ and our precious little son!

    Reply

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