Tuesday, September 4, 2012

39 Things: The Finale

So I am writing the finale of the 39 Things Challenge.  This is the end of the third week.  Week One was far and away the most successful and provided the most euphoric feelings.  Week Two created this sense of dissatisfaction about what I have been storing up in my life.  Week Three concluded in complete disbelief over how skewed my perspective had become. 

First up, the final report.  Yes, I did clear out more than 39 things this week.  My focus again was on drawers and shelves, with an emphasis on the kids bathroom and the kitchen.  Some give-aways, some trash, but once more we have more clear space.  I am DETERMINED not to fill it up.  On money, it was easy because this was a short week.  I only had Thursday through Monday since we are now in Florida.  I spent $6 on a lunch snack Thursday while running around town, just over $2 at Starbucks on Friday, and then I indulged in a breakfast out over the weekend while I had a sitter which totaled almost $11 - therefore I was most comfortably under the $21 for the week during this period than any other. 

But since this is the wrap up, I want to focus on how this has become so much more than how many things I gave away and how much money I was able to save.  This is more about WHY do I have so many things, worthless items, to give away to begin with.  This is more about HOW on Earth did my weekly budget grow to such excess. 

What are we doing?  As I spend today in the belly of the material beast, Disneyworld, I wrap up this challenge with a completely different perspective on where I am and what I am doing. When my two year olds are sitting in bed piling empty shoe boxes around them only to tell me they are ordering things, something has gone wrong. It's a funny story, but it is a sad story.

And those boxes folks, they ARE empty. They do not add one iota of value to our lives. Certainly we need clothes and food and a roof over our head, but the other stuff!?!?

Also, a specific word for us Christians, those of us who believe that Jesus Christ really should be running the show even if we do not always act like we believe it.  And this is a sermon more to myself than to anyone else reading.  REALLY what are we doing?  If our value and our worth and our provision truly comes from Christ, why on Earth are we piling up all this other stuff? I can understand how those with no faith might need to fill an emptiness or longing with material possessions in order to feel worthy or valuable or accepted. But I have no excuse. No. Excuse.

What are we doing?

I come away from this "challenge" personally challenged.  Life. Must. Change.  Value must be real not purchased.  Worth must be deeply rooted in my Creator and Redeemer not platinum status on a credit card.  Provision must be the Bread of Life not a five star restaurant. 

The line from the first day of the challenge rings truer to me today: We must teach our children today what to treasure tomorrow.

Philippians 3 - But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.
I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ... Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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