I am Content: The Challenge

Yesterday’s post was a lot harder to write than I thought. Every time I put my thoughts into writing, they become more of a reality. To be honest, I did not want to write, or even say that I was giving up shopping for 3 months straight. But, I did. And here we are, all facing the question: Am I really going to do this? Just to let you inside my head a little, for the past 24 hours my thoughts have gone a little something like this:

“What the heck, Nancy! Why did you even blog that!”
“Don’t you know that your 5th Anniversary is during that time? You HAVE to buy a new dress for that!”
“Surely you realize your summer wardrobe needs help. Surely.”
“3 months? Really? Just drop that to 2 months. No… 1 month. Yes, you can do 1 month, but not 3. That’s just too much.” (
Which is exactly why I feel that I should do this for 3 months. Because it’s the hard choice.)

Here’s the thing: People have done crazier things! They have given up much more of their lives and possessions for the Kingdom of God. I am called to live a life marked of love, contentment, and self-discipline for that matter, and we all have a choice: to stay comfortable, where we are, or to pursue a life worth living.

So, let’s do this! Let’s pursue a more fulfilling life together, by letting go of the things that do not fulfill us! I know there are a million questions running through your mind, so in hopes of answering those questions, here are the guidelines of the Contentment Challenge. I am so hoping you’ll join me.

The Contentment Challenge : April, May, & June 2013

We will give up shopping for clothes, accessories, household decor, and “stuff” for 3 months, to focus our hearts and minds on the root of true contentment. We will actively pursue fulfilling activities that will replace our addiction to material things.

The Guidelines:

• For the next 10 days, 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, and the opportunity for you to say your goodbyes to Target.)

• Choose 1-3 inspiring books to read during this time.  I would recommend any of the following: Seven, Weird, The Celebration of Discipline, 1000 Gifts, Kisses from Katie. (Feel free to leave additional recommendations in the comments!)

• 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.

• Necessities are okay! 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.


Each month will have a theme, a scripture memory verse, and one activity that you will be challenged to participate in.  Be sure to check in here on the 1st of April, May and June for the challenges. Also, every Thursday I will be posting encouragement here on my blog. So please come by, comment, and let me know how you are doing!

Finally, the official hashtag is #contentmentchallenge ! So be sure to share your struggles and victories along the way on Instagram and Twitter. Who’s with me?

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  • Kate said:

    I'm with you. I'm nervous, but I'm with you!

  • Sarah T said:

    Oh Nancy, you just had to post this huh? Of course it resonated with me and I wrestled with it, but I know overall that this is a challenge so worth it. I am in the midst of going through Seven with a women's bible study at church, have already dumped half my closet, and 90% gutted an entire room (it was a junk room). We are on the budget envelope system so a strict challenge will be a bonus! Also, being aware of where our money does go when purchasing items makes a huge difference too... the app Free2Work is an awesome resource to see ratings of stores.

  • Hi Nancy! I read your post yesterday and considered joining you for all of 2 seconds... but today I had a change of heart and am convinced that I MUST join you....
    So count me in! (can't believe i'm doing this!)

  • Rachel said:


    Way to go! This is amazing. I wish so badly now was the time for me to join this challenge, but the truth is I have a new baby arriving in June and my necessities will be out of control. Haha! But I do plan to do a true contentment challange at some point this year. Meanwhile I'll be cheering all of you on!

  • Danielle said:

    It's weird that I'm actually excited about this! And like a previous poster, I'm due with our second baby in July. Which does make this a tad harder. But I really don't need much for the new baby. I'm just in the process of moving our son to his new room, so there are a few obvious purchases I need to make to move him. I won't let him suffer just because I need to :) looking forward to your encouraging words in the coming months! And I can't wait to see how much money I will save!

  • Kelly said:

    I'm in! Right not I'm thinking this will be a breeze for me, but that could definitely change. Household items will be the hardest, since we just moved into a new house a couple months ago.

    Good luck to everyone :-) Praying this challenge will ultimately be rewarding to all who participate. Thanks for encouraging us on this journey Nancy.

  • Meredith said:

    I've talked with you before, but I am in! I can't help but be a little excited about it too, bc a good kick in the rear with some awesome ladies holding me accountable/cheering me on is just what I need!
    I look forward to doing this with you all!

  • Kathryn said:

    I am in! I love this idea and since I am just getting started in FPU it will do nothing but help me!

  • Em said:

    So this is a little strange, but I don't think I'm going to officially join this challenge because I actually need to spend some money on clothes!! I haven't yet bought clothing or accessories in 2013, and to be honest, I have hardly bought anything (with the exception of my rehearsal dinner dress) in the fashion arena for the past two years. I am all about saving money, but when I realized this weekend that I wore shirts for three days in a row with holes in them (yikes!), it occurred to me that I might have shut down this budget category too far. The good news is that I've gotten so used to saving money that it's very hard for me to pull the trigger on ANY item of clothing, but the bad news is... I'm wearing holey clothing :) That being said, I love this idea and will be cheering on all of you ladies!

  • Em said:

    So this is a little strange, but I don't think I'm going to officially join this challenge because I actually need to spend some money on clothes!! I haven't yet bought clothing or accessories in 2013, and to be honest, I have hardly bought anything (with the exception of my rehearsal dinner dress) in the fashion arena for the past two years. I am all about saving money, but when I realized this weekend that I wore shirts for three days in a row with holes in them (yikes!), it occurred to me that I might have shut down this budget category too far. The good news is that I've gotten so used to saving money that it's very hard for me to pull the trigger on ANY item of clothing, but the bad news is... I'm wearing holey clothing :) That being said, I love this idea and will be cheering on all of you ladies!

  • Oh man, oh man...

    I have to admit I've very much improved on my shopping habit since my husband and I started sharing a car and I started working from home, but this will be nothing but wonderful for my life and budget! I think I'm going to focus on bettering my cooking skills and working out daily.

    (Although my summer wardrobe needs major help, too!)

    If it's not breaking the rules, I do think I'm going to allow myself one souvenir when I travel to Canada for the first time in June. It means so much to me to decorate my home with meaningful pieces from my travels!

  • Ruthie said:

    I'm in! I've been thinking about your challenge and write away I wanted to say YES, I'm in! But decided to really think about it. It wasn't until I walked into Target today and saw all the pretty new spring clothes. It was then that I realized YES I need to do this! Because honestly, I'm up for the challenge. Which I think will be a challenge and I also think it's gonna be kinda fun. :) Oh, and because Chris and I are sticking to our budget. Which means I only get $30 a month for spending. I'm excited to save up that $30 for the next 3 months. Put it towards our savings or maybe buy something fun for someone else. YAY! I'm in, I'm in, I'm in!!

  • Breanna said:

    I know I'm a little late on this, but I'm in! 1000 gifts and Kisses from Katie have been on my reading list for awhile now. I am excited to just read them already! I have been so inspired by your financial journey lately...thank you so much for sharing! As my husband and I begin to make some big decisions (aka moving to a new state!), we are reevaluating where we spend our money. This challenge came at the perfect time. I get so fired up reading your blog...thank you thank you!

  • Amanda said:

    IDK about this, I am SO hessitant to say "yes" to this... is it awful I already don't think I can do it... which prob means i NEED to... ahhhhhh idk

  • Kylie Swanson said:

    When I told my husband about this, I think his immediate response was to ask for your address so he could send you a huge bouquet of flowers!!! This is SO something outside of my comfort zone but I am with you! I'm nervous and kind of feeling the immediate effects of cutting Target trips out of my week but...I'm with you! Can't wait to see what this leads to!

  • Amanda said:

    well here goes nothing i suppose i'm in! http://purposefullychosen.blogspot.com/2013/03/contentmentchallenge.html

  • Leanna said:

    Nancy......wow...this is so incredible!! I actually did this for as one of my new years resolutions!! I had never heard or seen anything like this. It just came to me. The exact same things that you have listed in your post. I started in January and have been going for 3 months now. Let me tell you - IT WORKS. In that time, I've learned to sew and my photography hobby is really taking off. ! I am currently reading 1000 Gifts. I've also be able to spend more time working on music for our church and teaching a Sunday School class. I've grown so much spiritually by doing this. So, to everyone out there who is doing this or thinking about doing this, GO FOR IT. It is SO worth the effort.

  • Allyson W. said:

    Nancy, hearing you speak at MTH about how you brought your business up without going in debt was so inspiring. I always feel like I'm so behind compared to other planners, but I'm trying not to go into debt in order to have a successful business. I've gotten better about the comparisons since MTH though! Today was all about finances in my house, and when I started adding up all those little trips to Target or TJ Max I was appalled at how much I'm spending on seemingly nothing. Your challenge has been in the back of my mind, and after today, I know I need this so I'm in! I have to say I'm nervous, but I'm up for the challenge.

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  • Rhiannon said:

    This is so inspiring. You have such a big heart, Nancy!

  • Wow! I just found this post via Hey Gorgeous twitter post and I am so impressed! I have been thinking about trying a no shopping challenge for 2 months and now reading your post I am inspired and am ready to try 3! This is the best idea and will help so many (including myself) see that we do not need possessions and clothes as badly as we think. Thank you for this! I will check back for some encoragement! I will be needing it!

  • ASHLYN said:

    wow -- this is truly inspiring! & I am so blessed that I ready Rhi's post today or I would not have found you. I have been wanting to stop my meaningless shopping sprees that only fullfill my need for instant gratification. The Lord wants us to long for Him, not for materialistic things. I am really going to strive to give up shopping for 'stuff' over the next three months. So ready for this journey! thanks for being such a blessing. xo

  • Holly said:

    I love that I am finding this today on the first. This so spoke to me (even though we are hoping to purchase a home soon). I have been trying to find contentment in my life lately and this will help! Super excited!

  • Nicole said:

    I'm in! I'm preparing for a cross-country move in June and really need to pare down what I'm bringing with me. Last night, I filled up two huge shopping bags with clothes to donate. I felt so happy and relieved to start narrowing down my wardrobe into the things I wear the most and really enjoy. It will be a challenge to avoid impulse clothing purchases, but I am going to undertake this contentment challenge!

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  • Erika said:

    "we all have a choice: to stay comfortable, where we are, or to pursue a life worth living." This got me! I'm in.

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  • Taylor said:

    I just read this post via a link from Katie O'Keefe's blog and I am so thankful that I did. The Lord's timing is perfect and this challenge could not have come at a better time. Since I'm a little late, I'm going to use the rest of April to prepare my heart (and my closet) and then I'm all in. I'm so excited to take a brave step against a big societal current and focus my heart on the ultimate Provider. I will continue to check back for updates and encouragement! You're a jewel! Thanks :)

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  • Emily said:

    Hi Nancy, I just stumbled upon this challenge and I'm starting it this month. I've so needed something that will help keep me accountable to spending wisely. Thanks for sharing your heart and convictions!

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  • Brittany said:

    I am so excited to do this challenge! My friend just found your blog and this challenge, and we're going to do it together. Although it is beginning Oct 1 for us, it creates a new spin on it, because we have to face it leading up to Christmas. Last night I cleaned out a couple of closets already and I look forward to seeing how our desire to not spend money will really help show us the value in more than just the $ we're saving. My Bible study girls and I are also starting and finishing a study on James during this time as well, so I look forward to seeing how God may bring these two things together!

    Thank you for going before and completing this. Just shows it can be done!!

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  • This is definitely how I'm starting my new year. I'm doing something similar right now to stop me from focusing on gifts and decorations during Christmas. But since I'll be home on maternity leave for the first two months of the year, I think it will give me more time to read and gain from other resources to keep me focused on how God wants me to grow in being content. I'd already read this last week, but Emily Ley just posted it again and made me realize that I really need to dig deeper into it. Not sure if I'll do two months or three, but I'm ready to change my outlook on so much.

    Lord, fill me with Your peace.


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  • I just came across this...so awesome and inspiring! What a great challenge...too bad I am a year late :)

    Would love for you to check out my post on Simplicity:


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  • Susan said:

    I'd like to do this but is there a place to 'sign-up' or a way to get connected to a group to do together for support? TIA

    • Nancy Ray said:

      Hi Susan! Yes you can sign up in the sidebar of my blog, or you can go to nancyrayshop.com to download a freebie on the Contentment Challenge!

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  • lyn said:

    I found this post late, but I still want to do it. Thank you

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