Being able to share my voice is a gift I don't want to ever take for granted. This blog is a window to my heart & my business. You'll be able to enjoy my latest sessions & photography tips.  But I'll also be sharing more of my passions like pursuing a simpler lifestyle and personal images from our day to day.

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August 23, 2017

Contentment Challenge

Last week on Instagram, I shared that I’ll be doing my first ever contentment challenge starting on September 1, 2017. Nancy Ray is the creator of the original contentment challenge & whose guidelines I am using for myself.

What is a contentment challenge?

Basically, I’ll be giving up shopping for 3 months. Yep. I said it. All those cute fall scarves, boots and sweaters. Don’t remind me. It’s my favorite time of the year. But here’s the thing, I already have enough. In fact, I have more than enough (even after combing through my closet multiple times in the past year).

I’m not just talking about clothes. I’m talking about home decor, Amazon wants, business pretties & random stuff that I happen to find while wandering around Target.

Why in the world do I want to do a contentment challenge?

I’ve actually known about this challenge since last year and completely ignored God’s nudgings in this area of my life for the past 9 months. I thought I had it all under control or could at least get it under control. Boy was I wrong! Nothing like sharing your goals to put a little weight behind them.

I actually hate shopping in person, unless I’m at Target. 🙂 I can think of at least 20 things I’d rather be doing than taking my kids on a day of errands especially if it means trying on clothes. So, I buy a lot of what we need (and want) online. It brings me a sense of excitement in the moment. A feeling of being trendy for a wife and mom in her 30’s that will get her style together one day. A distraction from what I should have my attention on: my husband, our kids or my business.

After tracking all of our spending through Mint.com (in love with this app & it’s free!) for the past two years, I was shocked to see how much I spent on clothes for myself in 2016. It honestly wasn’t that much. A few hundred dollars. What surprised me was that I couldn’t remember any specific piece of clothing that I purchased. Not one. A $6 Target shirt here and a $20 pair of shoes that are almost perfect didn’t stand out in my head.

Why? Because these were mostly impulse purchases. They were not thought out. They were emotional purchases after seeing it in store or featured on a blog. And oftentimes, they don’t fit the way they look in the picture and you have to return them anyway. This has pushed me to work towards a capsule wardrobe! It’s still a work in progress, but I can’t wait to share more on this in the next few months.

Are any of these true in your life?

  1. You always walk out of Target with way more than the toilet paper you went in for.
  2. Your husband comes home and asks you why there are packages delivered to your house every day. It’s actually a running joke now.
  3. You find yourself looking at online clothing shops often to see what’s new that you might just “need” for that next date night/girls night.

 

ALL of these ring true for me. I wish they didn’t. I’ve attached buying little stuff with feelings of happiness and contentment. In reality, I feel more empty (and guilty) after purchasing them.

Instead, I want to be able to sit in the quiet with my feelings and figure out why I want that thing in that moment. To learn to push into God to allow Him to bring that contentment to my heart. If you’re feeling like this would be good for you, but you’re not ready…pray about it. I welcome you to follow along whether you’re joining or not! You can join me on September 1 or do it on your own whenever you’re ready. I found that I had to be fully dedicated to sticking with it before I could commit to doing it. And that took some time for me to get there.

contentment challenge

The Guidelines (adapted from Nancy Ray’s)

Preparation is the key to success. 

  • Prepare: prepare your heart, organize your closet (highly recommend the Stylebook app), 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 a chance to say goodbye to Target in person.)
  • Buy a journal (or use one you already have). Write down your thoughts throughout this challenge. You might be surprised at what you find!
  • Choose 1-3 inspiring books to read during this time. I highly recommend Seven, The More of Less, Present Over Perfect.
  • Gifts are okay! If someone gives you a new dress or piece of decor during that time, receive it graciously! If you need to purchase a gift for a special occasion (wedding, baby shower, birthday), buy it. The point is not to be rude, but to learn more of ourselves and the Lord. It’s not the time to be legalistic. I will actually be purchasing gifts we’ll need for others before the challenge starts to avoid the temptation of adding more to my cart. It’s up to you if you want do it before it starts or when you need them!
  • 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 sweater, 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 plan to get back into my weekly fitness routine & finish sorting our personal photos to actually be able to make family albums for the past 3 years.

 

I will be blogging several times about my progress and tweaks made to my lifestyle so that you can see how the search for contentment is going!

Comment below if you want to join in on the challenge on September 1. Don’t forget to include the hashtag #ebpcontentmentchallenge on Instagram so I can encourage you along the way!

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