Monday, July 28, 2014

Teammate Update

Last month marked the halfway point for me. I can see and feel the changes that are taking place in my life and in my heart. I knew that some of my "teammates" who joined me on this journey were close to reaching their halfway points too. So, I decided to check in with them and see how things were going. Their emails touched my heart. And for the first time, I truly grasped the fact that this is so much bigger than me, or clothes, or shopping.  I have often wondered why God put this on my heart. And why a full year. And why the need to put myself out there while doing this. And now I see. It's because, had I kept this to myself, He wouldn't have been able to reach so many people and touch so many lives.

I want to share with you two of the updates I received. 

The first is from Kelly Chakerian, a beautiful teammate from the west coast:

"Hi Christi! I've actually been thinking of you lately and praying for all the gals doing the challenge!
So far... I have not given into purchasing anything! Scratch that, i bought new running shoes because I needed them for my half marathon training, along with a new pair of running shorts because my old ones elastic could barely stay on my hips haha but other than that nada! It truly has been a challenge, but oh so rewarding! I used to think about what I would wear to everything, baby showers, weddings, etc. At first I still did, but now it doesn't even cross my mind! I am more concerned about how I can bless those individuals at the events rather than how I look! :)

For example, my brother in laws wedding was in May. This was the first time that not shopping was actually really difficult, I mean, it was my brothers wedding! And I'm in the pictures! An excuse for a new dress right? But I didn't give in, instead borrowed from a sweet friend of mine, and guess what... No one cared that I didn't have a new dress! :) it wasn't about me anyways! It was their special day.
I've been so grateful to have that money freed up for other things that don't involve ME. I'm able to bless others more abundantly, rather than having that money poured into my closet. We Americans can be so concerned about things on this earth;  Clothes, shoes, money, status, beauty, being on the latest trend, when in reality, I don't want to be remembered for the clothes I wore, or the money I had, I want to be remembered for the woman I was and how I lived my life, and that Christ was reflected out of every bit of it. I want to be remembered as generous, caring for others needs more than my own, I want to be remembered as beautiful, but not because of my outsides.. But because of who I was on the inside.

Someone once asked me who I thought was one of the most beautiful people... A certain woman at church came to mind. She doesn't spend her money on all the latest trends, she is gorgeous and beautiful in so many ways, but not only because she is physically beautiful, but because she is the most devout woman of God, she's humble, generous, quick to think of others, kind and confident in who she is. That's what I want someone to think about when they think about me. Not my cute clothes.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with buying clothes and caring about your appearance, but that should never be a consuming part of your life. This challenge has taught me a balance and taught me that life isn't about THINGS! :)
This challenge has opened a lot of doors for conversations too. I see people at the store and they'll ask how the no shopping is going. One friend text me that she hadn't shopped in a month because she was inspired and asked how I was doing. It's been fun to cheer them on too and help others realize it is truly more blessed to give than to receive!

Thanks again for this opportunity, cheering you on too and praying for you daily! Let me know if you have any other questions or need this typed out more formally :) hope to actually meet you soon!"

The second email is from Adam Hillis. (Yes, I have a guy teammate too!) And I love the perspective he brings to this challenge:

"My year started February 1st, meaning that August 1st is six months completed of the 1 year wardrobe resolution.

I feel like my year-long journey of being content with what I have is mirroring the summer and winter solstice.

February 1 was my summer solstice. The days were bright and life was good. Two months later things were dimming but still bright, and I felt like this challenge wasn’t going to be as hard as I originally imagined. But as the months progressed and daylight shrinks to smaller amounts I’ve sometimes found it much harder to stay the course.

Though I haven’t fallen, the temptation has been murderous at times. Most notably for me was just this June when Google I/O happened. Part of my 1 year wardrobe resolution also includes refraining from any “techy” purchases. Google I/O is a two-day event where Google announces their new “techy” stuff that is coming out. Naturally I tortured myself watching videos and reading blogs about all the amazing things that are coming that I won’t allow myself to buy.

The “won’t allow myself to buy” part never changes. But the reason it doesn’t change is the important part of walking this resolution out. Am I doing it because it’s a challenge to be conquered? Or am I truly allowing my heart to be content with the things that I have and enjoying what’s right in front of me?

The biggest blessing during these first six months has been our second son, Abel Jonathan Hillis, who joined us May 8th. He’s kept my focus on him, and my money’s focus on paying hospital bills while trying to save for a larger vehicle for our family. My wife and two boys are why I want to be content. I’d rather my money be spent taking care of them and providing a better life for us than getting the next great Google toy. And I’d rather my time be spent playing on the living room floor than purusing eBay for a steal.

I consider August 1 as my winter solstice. This is the halfway point where every day for the next six months only gets longer and brighter. But February 1, 2015 isn’t just a day of completion, and it won’t be marked with purchasing whatever I want because my challenge is over. It’ll be the day I find out how much this lesson in contentment has been teaching me for 365 days."

Take less. Give more. Be blessed and inspired.
Christi Hucks