Private Commitment, Guess it's not private now!
Matthew 6:25-33 New International Version (NIV)
25 âTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 âAnd why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe youâyou of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, âWhat shall we eat?â or âWhat shall we drink?â or âWhat shall we wear?â 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Looking for confirmation for my inspiration, these are books, interviews, movies, blogs that captured my inquiring attention.
Oprah Winfrey's recent book, What I Know for Sure
Video: Sarah Lazarovic joins TODAY to talk about why she swore off clothes and shoes for 365 days, and the lessons she learned, which she details in her new book, âA Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy.â Today show, Oct. 29, 2014
Jen Hatmaker books, 7 and Interrupted
Linda Sue Parks book, A Long Walk to Water
Ron Howard produced movie, The Good Lie
Ashley Randall, ashleyrandallphotography.com, blog and photos
Have you made vows in your life? Did you keep them? To me, a vow is more sacred, more binding than a passing promise. 40 years ago vows were spoken at our wedding ceremony. Mine were taken from the Bible verses where Ruth commits to her mother-in-law, Naomi, to go with her wherever, adopting her people and her God to be her own. These words have proven to be personally important in resolving conflicts in my marriage relationship brought on by moves and associations. Confession to thoughts of "why the heck am I here?"
December 13, 1985 a second personal vow was made as I laid in the snow begging God to let my lost child to be found. I promised God to do anything he asked of me. The volunteer firefighters found my child emerging from frozen woods a few miles down the road and returned him to the safety of home. Do I keep to this? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, with the excuse of "not knowing for sure" what choice to make, what path to take. My excuse is pretty much BS because God gets his work done regardless of whether I choose to jump in and participate. Father, I crave your blessing!
Returning home from from Africa in the summer of 2013, my heart was heavy with awareness and conviction, my body was exhausted from dust, stale air and confinement of travel. I made a vow to stop shopping for myself. Not to stop food or toiletries or regular necessities. But no more slave to fashion, no more stuff! What American woman does not enjoy shopping, designing herself, designing her home? In my head was dread and anticipation of unhappiness. Knowing I had a closet bulging with enough clothing to last me the rest of my life did not comfort the looming loss of "newness". Over a year has passed and I have not found this new mindset to be difficult, really. Slowly purging the hangars and drawers, throwing away, giving away, making new dust rags has been an act of freedom - ongoing, still not finished. Here's the list of clothing bought for my self in this time: Walmart package of socks - ran out while traveling before access to laundry (I guess I could have hand washed?), 2 t shirts that were purchased to support charities - high school PALS for Water is Basic, Pink for Kris for a friend fighting breast cancer, bathing suit bottom - because mine from last year was lost? Found it at the end of summer boat season when I pulled out a suitcase and unzipped a pocket that had not seen the world in a year. That's it! Now using a Dillard's gift card doesn't count, right? Maybe that sounds like a confession to cheating but to me, improvement!
Hosting two African guests at our church in the Spring, I was blessed to serve them several meals, guide them on school/community visits, provide social time at my house for a tea. Their words soaked into my soul as they spoke at our women's Thursday Bible study, prayed a blessing on our home and gave sermons in the Sunday worship services. Observations on the excesses of American culture that they passed on: 1. We have too much stuff! Our homes, garages, storage sheds and attics are overflowing and some of us even rent extra storage space at places away from our houses. Our refrigerators and pantries are super stocked so that we need to throw away what went unused. 2. We spend a lot of money on our dogs. Paying top dollar for their grooming and health care was shocking to a culture that considers household dogs only in the role of protection. We carelessly waste. I have become aware. I am trying to change. Something happens almost everyday to return my thoughts to Kenya. A seed of change was planted there. That seed is growing.
Checking out Oprah's book, I was hoping to find something concrete to support my vision of a simplified life. She had some sweet ideas about taking care of your self and keeping lofty perspectives but what I know for sure from reading her essays is this: Oprah is ri-i-i-ich! (Said in the disrespectful voice of the comedian Ron White.) Personal hardships brought her to the wisdom she shares today, but it all filters through the lifestyle of the rich and famous, not too much universal truth for all to ponder. Thanks Oprah but it seems I was looking in the wrong book for deep messages.
The Today show trailer kept me tuned in for an extra five minutes yesterday touting a woman who gave up shopping for a year. I thought, oh yeah, we will have something in common. Lol, so wrong! To curb her weakness for internet shopping, she started painting things she coveted instead of buying them. Not me.
The Jen Hatmaker books have connected me to a somewhat kindred spirit. We both attended Oklahoma Baptist University - her being maybe twenty years after me. She is pursuing change through spiritual terms, a shared philosophy. I have been rereading, note taking and using her work in quotes. One concept is that work done in service should be "relationally focused". That is where I feel at home. In peace. Content. Well with my soul.
The plight of problems facing children in Sudan is the focus of Linda Sue Parks' book and Ron Howard's film. Both inspire faith in God and humanity. Both challenge to awareness and service. Please read, please watch!
Ashley Randall is a darlin' Texas girl transplanted to California with her husband, both seeking to fulfill their creative dreams. She is a former student, now all grown up! She used to write a fashion blog with a focus on vintage clothing. That has run it's course and she now is blogging about photography, children and dogs. Memories of her creative clothing concoctions remind that I still don't need new clothes. My old stuff (some vintage) can be arranged in varying combinations and still look cool. Well, cool enough to satisfy me.
So I DO still enjoy shopping - for gifts! And it's becoming that season of year.