no one can take your place

oklahoma sunrise. found here.
I donated three bags of clothes to Goodwill on Saturday. On Sunday evening, we packed two boxes full of DVDs and set the boxes down in the parking lot of an apartment complex. We had considered trading the DVDs in for store credit or money but decided it would be more therapeutic to just give them away. We I also decided it would help us to remain true to my pledge to not shop for DVDs, clothes, shoes, or accessories for the next nine months.

I don't need anything. And I am starting to get to the point where I don't really want anything either. All those years spent of buying, buying, buying hav finally caught up with me. And I know now that I placed too much importance on having things than on what I had. I'm already weighed down by enough things and by enough debt. I'm ready to purge myself of the excess.

I still have excess. Had it not been for my husband's annoying (but loving) prodding I would still have more excess. But rather than holding onto some of the DVDs, I gave them away. And I feel just a bit lighter from it all. I feel like now I have more time to enjoy life, to focus on the things that matter, and to not feel like I have to watch this or watch that. I feel like now I have a reason to be creative with how I wear my clothes and how I spend my time.

Many of the things I gave away were things I said I would wear, said I would watch and then didn't. As I went through my closet and then through our DVD collection, it hit me just how much money and how much time has been wasted on things that have no true weight.

Looking back, we've slowly made our way to this point. Had it been up to my husband, we would have gotten here much more quickly, but I clung to material possessions even though in my heart I wanted to let go earlier. I guess I just wasn't quite ready.

I hope this will continue to spill over and into all our aspects of our lives. Already, we've cut back on eating out (though we still have a ways to go), and it's been almost two months since I last drank Starbucks. At least I think it has been almost two months. I honestly do not remember the last time I ordered a soy vanilla latte from Starbucks.

I'm probably the worst when it comes to eating out during the week. When I get home from work, sometimes I just don't feel like cooking or like having my husband make something. It seems so much easier to drive to Wendy's and order a chicken sandwich. But I know this is also something we need (and want) to cut back on.

Over the weekend, we only ate out once, and the meal we ate out was free as it was for a friend's wedding. The other nights, I cooked, and I received compliments on both meals. I might have a chef somewhere inside of me yet!

I can't do any of this on my own. And I know that while I am doing this for my own good, it is also because I feel the calling on my heart to truly give up the things I've held onto for so long. My husband feels the same, though I can not speak for him on many of these matters. We just know God is leading us to something and that we need to listen to His voice and respond rather than putting it off for another day or time or season in our lives.

I contemplated much of this on my drive to work this morning. I also contemplated other things God is doing, asking for His guidance on decisions we make for our lives. I noticed the sunrise this morning and stopped the contemplating. I simply thanked Him for His beauty and marveled at how intricate the sunrises are every morning. There are no two sunrises that are alike, and this morning, I was able to experience what felt like two sunrises. The east half of the sky was blue with whisps of peach, white and gray clouds. The west half of the sky was pink, purple, and orange. In the center, one cloud extended from the east to the west, joining the two sides and creating the perfect balance of peach with orange, white with pink, and gray with purple.

He's always working, and sometimes, His ways create two beautiful pictures all at once.

Have you considered giving up "stuff"? Why have you or why have you not? Feel free to join me on this journey, and please feel free to hold me accountable!

(title from "forgiven" by skillet)

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