Day 221: Shop It To Me

Day 18 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

So, I’ll admit that shopping is way more fun now that my body is a little different. I just enjoy putting on clothes that fit nicely and don’t go all baggy in the wrong places or fit too large in the right places. It’s easier, too. I used to have to try on 53 tops before finding one that works.

But at the same time, shopping has gotten much harder. For two reasons.

One. I feel like I have gotten closer to God in an unexpected way… in a way that is learning to struggle less with my exterior self. It is another journey that I am just beginning… being free from the world’s impressions of me, but it is a journey I have needed to take my whole life… just as long as I have needed to do this covenant to be free from food. And well, feeling the need to buy a certain outfit of a certain brand of a certain tightness of a certain cut… well, I’m learning that I want to be as free from that as I have learned to be from food. I attribute this quite a bit to another covenant companion of mine whom I have mentioned covenanted from buying any new clothes this year. So, all of those thoughts run through my mind as I am looking at clothes.

Two. A less “spiritual” reason, but my husband recently resigned from his job as a school teacher because he has the opportunity to pursue, full time, the manufacturing and distribution of his product Chord Dice… it is a set of dice for guitar players that helps them to write new songs, learn chords, and for guitar teachers to use to teach their students theory. Allow me to gush my pride in my husband for a moment. I am so proud of him for following God’s leading throughout this process. He has said time and time again that it is God who goes before him. And he shamelessly put the inspiration verse on the instructions: Psalm 33:3… “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”

Well, all of that wonderful ooshie-gushie stuff to say that right now we are having to be extremely tight on the ol’ budget. He just got his last paycheck from school and so we’ll have to rely solely upon his income as a part-time guitar teacher to sustain us (by the way, if you are in the McKinney area, he is great! McKinneyGuitarLessons.com). This means noooooooo extras for while. I’m totally okay with it but it sorta forces me into the no-buy mode.

Soooooooo, ALL of that to say that yesterday, when I went to drop off some clothes to sell at Clothes Mentor, I felt I had some extra time so I slipped in next door to belk’s and just… tried on clothes. For just the fun part. I tried on the clothes that I never look at because they are so expensive. I didn’t even go to the clearance rack. Only like four pieces, but it was fun! It was almost extra fun because I knew I wasn’t gonna buy anything! Ha! I used to do this in college with my friends… we’d go to the mall and just try on prom dresses for the heck of it!

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And then it was extra fun because I took some pics… who needs to buy clothes when you can have a pic of yourself wearing them for free?!?!? Ha!

Anyway, I’m not sure if this really has any spiritual significance but it was just too fun to not share!

Day 158: Sweet Treats

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Summer seems to be all about… life. When you even just look through the Target ads (which I do… I mean, come on, I have two boys… shopping is not something that I do… ever. So, looking through the Target ads is like my form of “window shopping”… and I can do it in my PJs), you can see that everything is happy and carefree and full of smiles and toys and… life!

And previously for me (and by previously I mean, like… my whole life), summer has been about ice cream, and brownies, and snow cones, and Oreos, and ice cream, and hot dogs, and milkshakes, and chips with dip, and ice cream, and ice cream.

Yeah, so apparently, I like ice cream.

But not this summer… but it’s all good. Cause this summer is going to be about REAL LIFE.

Instead of taking a moment to relax with a bowl of ice cream (and don’t forget the Hershey’s syrup on top), I’m going to take my book and a vat of OFF to keep the buggies away and I will sit in my patio chairs and enjoy real. peace. and real. life.

Instead of a snow cone, I might just take a bubble bath.

No chips and dip for me… I prefer to take a dip in the pool (and yes, that “cool dip” will be in my kid’s pool because that’s what we have, but honestly, cool water feels good whether it’s five feet deep or 1/2 foot deep).

I’ll save the milkshake for another year, and instead go for a walk (which is what I’m doing in that pic at the top)!

And the pièce de résistance, instead of a bag of Oreos, I will take a nap. An afternoon nap. Ahhhhh, the very word makes me get those relaxation goose bumps.

Because it’s not about the food this summer… and I don’t need food to relax, in fact, it’s usually MORE work to eat. Think about it… a bowl of ice cream must be prepared: scoop the ice cream (and dang, if the ice cream is super frozen then that is a Herculean effort sometimes!), chop up some peanuts, smother it in Hershey’s syrup, probably melt some peanut butter to drizzle on there too.

Pffffffff, no WONDER I want to relax when eating ice cream… I’m worn out from all the prep! Haha!

But back to my point, which I have kind of talked about before, but food really shouldn’t be my portal to relaxation (or fun, or comfort, or distraction, etc)… it’s like my husband says, “We eat to live. We don’t live to eat.” (By the way, he watches about three food documentaries a week, so he might have stolen that from someone.)

But I like that mentality.

Because if I want to “treat” myself to some relaxation, then I want to treat the INNER me… not the OUTER me. not my stomach. not my tastebuds. I want my SOUL to feel relaxed. to feel blessed. to feel treated.

So, those things are still treats, but they are sweet in an entirely different kind of way!

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10

Day 144: Short And To The Point

Last week I went shopping and had such a nice time… mainly because I was wearing a size 10 and so shopping was a bit more fun than usual. Plus, I was just on a God-cloud-nine… I mean, His working in my life was so very evident that day… I even fasted during my shopping excursion because I felt so blessed.

Buttttt, I guess I was just so overwhelmed with the awesomeness of putting on a size 10 that I focused a bit too much on the waist fitting and focused too little on the length of the shorts. They were super cute and not too super short, but like I’ve said several times, I refuse to go back to my old habits of dressing like I want attention for my physical body.

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And when I came home and did the little giggly girl excited try-on-again session (cause you know, some of those changing rooms are a bit deceiving with their special lighting and small enclosed spaces and whatnot), I tried on those plaid short again, and well… although I did not look like a… well, like a Lady Of The Night, if you get my meaning… but I didn’t look like a woman who is the daughter of a King either… I didn’t look regal. And well, that’s the look I’m going for. I don’t want to look like the woman in her thirties who is trying to dress like a thirteen year old. I want to look like I am fine with who I am now… not reliving years that I “missed”.

So, to be short and to the point, I’m going to take them back. Even if they are borderline “okay”, I think that at this point it is the principle of the matter. If I was thinking about showing my friend Christy to ask her if she thought if they were too short… well, then they are. That’s the rule I always used to have with kids in school… if you feel you have to ask, then don’t even try.

And it’s not because God has necessarily told me “NO!” but because I want to honor Him… to please Him… in the same way that I want to honor Him and please Him with my eating, I want to honor Him and please Him with my body, with my clothes even. Here’s why…

You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:9-11

Really, there is just so much there, but what it boils down to is that I am chosen by God to be higher than… myself. Not higher or better or holier than thou… but higher than the worldly “me” can be. To step up to the next level of life… a life of royalty, holiness, owned by God. So that I can show other the goodness of God. And, well, I don’t want for people to be able to look at my shorts and have them detract from the goodness of God. Cause then, what if they miss Him? What if they miss God because they are focused on my shorts being too short???

Nope. Not worth it. Even if they are suuuuuuuper cute… and they are… suuuuuuuper cute. Not worth it if someone who is tied down. weighed down. torn down. misses the goodness of God.

No shorts are that cute.

Day 136: A Fast Shopping Trip

Today was a “me” day.

And ohhhhhhh how nice those “me” days are! My parents watched the boys for me so that I could go get a hair cut and, well, just not be in constant “mom mode” all day. As much as I adore my boys, I also adore… me. And I like to spend time with just… me.

So I dropped them off at my parents house this morning, and went and got my hair cut. I was kind of craving a parfait but didn’t have time to snag one before hand (which I was glad about later).

After that I had decided already that I was going to try to find some shoes and a few shirts and tops down at the outlet shops near us.

I went into GAP cause it was near where I parked and I have a friend that wears GAP stuff and I always think she looks classy… and I grabbed a few things that I thought looked cute… both size 10 and 12 in shorts and a few medium tops.

Nervously, I went into the changing room and looked at my options. I was nervous for two reasons:

a. I had not been shopping anywhere but Ross in ages and each store has its own “protocols”… and for some reason not knowing how many outfits I can take in, if I have to wait for an attendant, should I knock on the door or not, etc. all makes me nervous.

b. I had a pair of size 10 shorts. I was about to find out if my size 10 “moment” the other day was just a one-dress deal or if I would be able to wear more size 10s.

Instead of trying on the 12s first to see if they were too big I just went for it with the 10s. And… they. fit. perfectly.

I grinned at myself in the mirror and said a quiet “Thank you Jesus”… and then like all good iPhone users, took a pic of myself!

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And then I tried on another pair of 10s and they fit (but looked hideous). But I got a couple of other shirts and totally thought to myself, GAP is gonna be a good place for me: good clearance rack, trendy but classy clothes options, good “cut” for my body type.

But I’ll admit that I was grinning as I walked out of the changing room.

And still grinning (and a bit giddy) as I checked out.

Still grinning as I walked around the outlet stores.

Annnnnnnd, yep, grinning… as I walked into American Eagle, J.Crew, Tommy Hilfiger, and Puma.

And everywhere I walked I thanked God for the restrictions that had brought me so much freedom. I thanked Him over and over again for that freedom.

On my way to Old Navy on the other side of the highway, I decided that I would stop by Paradise Bakery (which I love) after getting a few things. But as I walked out of Old Navy (with several more size 10s and some medium tops), I was just so overwhelmingly thankful to God. Like I wanted to show Him how thankful I was.

And for some reason, I thought, “I should fast for the rest of my ‘me’ day.”

We tend to fast out of obligation, or heartbreak, or concern. In fact in looking for a verse or a time that someone in the bible fasted because they were blessed, I kept coming up with people fasting because they had messed up and wanted God to forgive them or because they were in mourning for one thing or another. But I can never think of a time that I have thought- wow, having such a great time right now… I should fast. Fasting because I’m blessed instead of fasting in order to be blessed. It was just such a new thought for me. But it was great! I thought even more and more about His blessings every time my stomach growled. I was so glad that I had missed breakfast and then passed by Paradise Bakery, so that I could have those fasting moments with Him.

And it helped me keep my focus on the One that made that size 10 possible. I didn’t once look at myself and think, “Wow January. Good work.” Because I know that it was only by His strength that I was able to lose weight. And that’s why I was so pleased with doing that little “blessing-fast”… giving Him my thanks through a sacrifice… makes me think of the One that did the same.

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Psalm 50:14