I want you to pray about & truly consider giving up shopping for 3 months with me, starting April 1st.
I KNOW. I went there.
I felt I might as well have just hit you with it first thing, because you’re going to immediately do one of two things:
1. Close the window
2. Keep reading to see why
Well friends, I’ll tell you why. The Lord called me to give up shopping for 3 months straight 3 years ago, and I called it “The Contentment Challenge.” He was calling me deeper into Him, to find my joy in my relationship with Him – not in things or appearances, and to quit my addiction to impulse buys at Target, Anthropologie, and online sales that landed in my inbox.
You can read all about my first journey here.
You guys, I’m tearing up as I type this. That journey was freakin hard for me. It’s embarrassing to say it was hard, but it was. 3 years later, I AM FREE. I simply do not shop like I used to. The addiction is not there, hallelujah! I hardly shop any more, but when I do, there is such freedom and enjoyment because I don’t do it out of this compulsive need to keep up – I do it because it simply brings me joy. And I’m good with that.
So why am I inviting you? Because I want this same kind of freedom for you. I know there are other ladies out there reading this who tried the Contentment Challenge and didn’t succeed in completing it. Or there are some of you who are just now hearing about this for the first time, and it’s for you, too.
And guess what? Most of the time, freedom doesn’t come from observing others or asking for it. Freedom comes when we participate. God has moved for us when He died on the cross for us – providing our freedom 100%. Now it’s up to us to move and take hold of that freedom! Even from something petty like shopping. He cares about that. He cares about you. He cares about the small things that hold us back.
3 years later, I’m amazed that there are 800+ posts on Instagram using the #contentmentchallenge hashtag, and even more people who have completed it without ever instagramming about it. I’m amazed that my friend and author Hannah Brencher is doing her own Contentment Challenge right now. I’m amazed that my friend Lara Casey did the Contentment Challenge and when 3 months was up, she just kept going, all the way through Christmas, because of the delight and fulfillment she found when she stopped buying for no reason.
You guys, this is a real thing. And because I want to maintain my heart’s focus on the Lord, I’m doing it again: starting April 1st! Here are the guidelines for the 2016 Contentment Challenge:
• Until March 31st, your homework is the following: prepare your heart, organize your closet, and make any necessary purchases that you might need during these months. (This is not a last minute shopping spree! This is one final trip to the store for items you will need.)
• Gifts are okay! If someone gives you a new dress or piece of decor during that time, receive it graciously! If you need to buy someone else a gift, by all means, do so. The point is not to be rude, but to learn more of ourselves and the Lord. It’s not the time to be legalistic.
• Necessities are okay! Please buy groceries. If you drop and break your phone, please go get a new one! If you lose your glasses, buy a new pair. Just don’t start justifying new purchases for items that you already have. (“I really NEED this bathing suit, even though there are 8 in my closet already.”)
• You must actively pursue something – anything – that replaces your tendency to buy stuff. Begin thinking about something you love or a hobby you’ve always wanted to do, and make preparations to actually do it. I’ve signed up for a half marathon in June – so I plan to do a lot of running.
Guess what is the most exciting part about all of this? On April 1st, my Contentment Challenge E-Book and devotional is going to be available in the Nancy Ray Shop that launches at the end of this month! You certainly don’t need the book, but my hope is that it would be an encouragement and a guide along the way. Some things to expect in the book:
– Weekly Devotionals & thoughts
– Monthly Scripture to Memorize
– Activities and guidelines
– Thoughts from Will on contentment
Finally, the official hashtag is #contentmentchallenge ! So be sure to share your struggles and victories along the way on Instagram.
That’s it people. It’s official. All of April, May and June, I won’t spend money on clothes or “stuff” – focusing my attention on how the Lord fulfills me, not things.
Pray about it, and if you feel called to do it, commit to it by the end of this week and leave a comment below!