Happy April, friends! I am grateful to be starting this month off on the right foot, immersed in the spirit of Easter weekend. Worshiping my Savior and all He has done for me left me in tears for the better part of church yesterday, and I would have it no other way. I can’t help but be moved by His love, victory, grace, and salvation that He generously gave to us when He laid down His life, then rose again. Hallelujah! I will forever and always wear waterproof mascara on Easter. (I did yesterday.) His loves leaves me completely undone.

This weekend I also have spent a lot of time with Will, I spent many hours outdoors (hello 8.5 mile run!), I spent time in the kitchen cooking, and I spent lots of time with family. Oh it is good to rest and be renewed.

You also know that April begins the Contentment Challenge! (Read part 1 and part 2 of my thoughts on contentment.) I am so thrilled for each of you who are bravely joining me in this challenge. It’s going to be good, friends… I can feel it. Don’t forget to include the #contentmentchallenge hashtag as we journey through this together!

The Contentment Challenge : April
Theme: Generosity
Memory Verse: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (above)
Activity Challenge: The verse above says to “be rich in good deeds, be generous and willing to share. In this they will lay up treasure for themselves as a FIRM FOUNDATION for the coming age (ie: the #contentmentchallenge), so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”  The first activity challenge is to clean out your closet and give a lot of your clothes away!

What?! I’m giving up shopping for 3 months and the first challenge is to get rid of more stuff?

YES. That’s exactly what I want you to do. By doing so, we are laying a firm foundation for what the Challenge is all about! Generosity, gratitude, and replacing cheap materialism and consumerism with activities that are fulfilling. And LET ME TELL YOU: there is nothing more fulfilling than giving things away!

To make this even more meaningful, I’m suggesting that you find ministries that you love and donate your clothes there. Don’t just do a giant goodwill drop off because it’s easy. Look into a local battered women’s home, a homeless shelter, a family at your church who might need more clothing, or a faith-based ministry that aligns with your purpose in giving. The amount of clothing you give away is completely up to you, but I encourage you to give SOMETHING away. You’ll be so happy you did!

Each monthly activity that I challenge you to do will be something that I’ve already done myself, or I’m in the process of doing. When I cleaned out my closet this week, it made me realize all that I DO have. Even though I am giving much away, I am looking at my current wardrobe in a whole new way. I am so grateful for the clothes that I use regularly, and excited to find a new home for the clothes that I do not wear enough to justify keeping. I’m excited to drop off many of these clothes this week to people who need them more than I do.

Of course I’m continuing with my monthly goals, and I encourage you to do the same! Here are mine for April…

April Goals

Complete Month 1 of the Contentment Challenge (Are you with me?!)
15 in 12: Read Radical by David Platt
Take part in the May MTH clear-the-clutter challenge
Continue my social-media free weekends (except for Wedding days, which are work days for me)
Practice guitar 2x week + have my next guitar lesson
Ride 10 miles on my roadbike 3x this month
Sign up for my calligraphy class and watch at least 1 video
Incorporate shooting with my new Contax in my weddings this month
Continue my new exercise + eating lifestyle. (Loving my life right now!) 

I can’t wait to see all that April has in store. And please, comment away! Your honesty and thoughts are so appreciated. Be sure to link below if you’ve blogged your monthly goals. I’m also curious to know… what book(s) have you decided to read as we journey through this challenge together?

Let’s do this, April!

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COMMENTS

[…] Every month of this challenge I am going to post our theme, our memory verse & an activity to help you stay focused for the month. Obviously, you don’t have to anything that I post; this challenge is what you make of it. For me, these little goals will be really helpful, so I wanted to share them with all of you. I’m taking a lot of this challenge from the amazing Nancy Ray, the founder of the Contentment Challenge. She wrote an AMAZING blog series on this challenge!! I LOVE her memory verses, themes & challenges; but I wanted to give you a different approach, too. This way, you can follow hers & mine… a 2 for 1 kinda deal:) Be sure to check out her Month One Goals here!! […]

[…] Steps >> I started Nancy Ray’s Contentment Challenge on the 1st (so far, so good!) and my contentment activity for the month is to clean out my closet […]

[…] any new clothing for the session. Part of this reason is because I am participating in the contentment challenge by Nancy Ray, but also because I wanted the images to be just us. Us in regular, old clothing and focusing on […]

[…] Complete month #2 of the contentment challenge […]

[…] Nancy Ray is one of the cutest photographers in the industry. I love her blog, and love her honesty and authenticity. She is real and she is lovely. And last week, she scared me half to death when I read about her contentment challenge. Nancy Ray […]

[…] also wanted to give you an update to the April Challenge. I successfully cleaned out my closet (see the giant mess below) and sorted my give-away clothes […]

Jasmine Marciniak

Oh Nancy, you leave me in tears with every heartfelt post about how God has been so good to you yet you still desire to do whatever He is calling you to do. The Contentment Challenge intrigued me at first, and I was like that’s awesome but it’s not for me, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt like The Lord was pushing me to do it. SO! Tommy and I are jumping on board with the Contentment Challenge yeahhh!!! Thanks for the boost friend! Miss your sweet face. Love you!! –Mrs. Marciniak :)

I love this! I’m jumping on a little late, so I’m going to try to start and do May, June and July. This scared me so much at first, but then I realized that is exactly why I need to do it – to stop these bad habits and seek contentment from Him instead of things. Love this and thanks for sharing such a great idea!

I actually decided a few weeks ago that the pair of shoes that I bought the first week of March were the last article of clothing I was going to buy till late July this year–and yesterday I was cleaning out my closet! It’s definitely a season for starting afresh!

I am so inspired by all of the amazing ladies participating in this! Makes the challenge seem a little more reachable when you have a support team. Even though I am taking a bit of a break from blogging (trying to finish out this semester of school strong!), I am excited to challenge myself in a different area and simply get back to the basics. Also, I have been a runner for quite a few years, but have been lazy since my last race. Nancy, seeing your running updates have inspired me so much, and I can’t wait to get back outside and enjoy this beautiful spring!

Love the contentment challenge and reading your goals!

I am a couple of days late but finally blogged my April goals. Excited to make progress each month! http://www.teasleyphotography.com/april-goals-2013/

The contentment challenge is an awesome way to practice gratefulness for all the Lord has given us. Awesome challenge!

Excited for a new month + new goals!!

Blogged about mine here: http://lorinmariephotography.com/blog/2013/4/2/april-goals

[…] Complete month one of the contentment challenge […]

It’s so funny that this is the challenge, bc I’m actually in the process of cleaning out my closet. I also told my niece to go through all of my clothes and pick out what she wants. I don’t know if that counts for giving it away or not.
I’m trying to declutter a lot from my house. I feel like the 3 month challenge will be lifting and freeing, and what better way to cleanse your heart along with your house too?? 😉
I got 2 of the books you suggested, and a friend told me to get “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan as well. I want to start a book today!

Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Did you just completely pull the words from my head and heart? I’ve been feeling a little bit of discontentment lately, and decided to de-clutter my closet last night. I gave away my clothes today to friends and am taking them up to Teen Challenge later this week. So cool that I read this today! Thanks for the extra push and shove. Needed it!

Yay! I think I’m going to join in this closet clean out challenge even if I’m not officially participating in the contentment challenge! And love the echoes of 7 in this post :)

Nancy! I was so encouraged by you during the Making Things Happen conference and your journey to being debt free. My husband and I are starting a similar journey (we seek to pay off $150,000 in 3 years). We know the road will be hard and a lot of people think we are crazy. But we are excited to prove them wrong and inspire them. Thank you for sharing your debt-free scream, it was so inspiring! I decided to start posting monthly goals on my blog as well, so here are my April goals: http://www.joannadayphotography.com/april-2013-goals/

So happy to hear you say you’re loving your life right now, Nancy!! Such a beautiful place to be in. Excited to watch you complete your April goals!

I love how you share so much of yourself with everyone. Thanks for your encouragement and I really appreciate how you are not afraid to share who you are. :) I love this challenge. And yippee to you getting a new Contax camera. What film are you going to shoot with?

I cleaned out my closet and gave away….6 pairs of gently worn shoes, 4 coats, 4 pairs of pants, 6 sweaters, 2 dresses, and 20 blouses/tops. I felt sooo good. I donated to a local charity that helps women. I tried to envision the ladies who might be attracted to my clothing. If it was worn out; I trashed it instead of putting it in their donation bag.

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Always love seeing your goals…and so excited to see the contentment challenge unfold! Here are my goals for the month! http://www.kristinnicoleblog.com/april-goals-2

When I read your first post on the contentment challenge, I thought yeah I can do that no problem, then I really thought about what it meant. And decided no, I don’t really want to join in. But even if I’m not a big shopper, I still think this 3 month challenge is a great way to refocus on life. Thanks for pushing me to join you on this 3 month journey!

I love a good challenge. Setting goals totally gets me motivated. I posted my April goals on my blog today too! I’ll also be clearing the clutter this month and next month. So many preparations getting ready for a new baby and a new business to launch.

Good luck on your goals, Nancy! It’s going to be a great month. :)

Nancy, I’m so glad the first step in the challenge is to clean out our closets. It’s something that I’ve been needing to do for a long time, but I’ve just been putting it off. I will be going through our clothing closets this week though! I also plan on turning the hangers of my clothes as I put them back in the closet after wearing them. I’ve seen people do this before, and so at the end of these three months, anything that I haven’t turned I’m also going to give away. If I haven’t worn it in three months it’s likely I’m not going to wear it in the next three.

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