D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: spending

The Great Lent Experiment Wrap Up

So the Mutiny Against Excess is over . . . or is it?

Me and Haley came up with this idea for Lent, and it got a little bigger than I had thought. I have talked to lots of people who let the ideas of doing without and downward mobility influence their lent. It was exciting to even be talking about these issues with so many people.

It really didn't feel like 40 days, did it? Now that the Easter celebrations are over I can start to process what this Lent Experiment meant to me.

The Easy Parts:

Limiting shopping for food and eating from my pantry/freezer was pretty easy, mostly because we only did this a week at a time. I did get . . . creative at some points. Hamburger helper (sans hamburger) with frozen vegetables and yogurt? Well, a certain little toddler ate it, and so did my husband. I really enjoyed the push to get out and walk to the farmers market every Wednesday at the local co-op. I do feel the roots of the importance of food and how we think about it taking shape in my life. And I'm glad.

Not buying new clothes also got a little easier  . . . It has now been several months since I stopped thrift storing for funsies. I did go to Goodwill one time for my birthday and got a killer dress and a killer pair of shorts. So. There you have it.

Not spending ANY money besides gas/groceries was actually pretty fun too. At first I was terrified, because spring weather in Portland is so so so bad and my baby can barely walk. So, when in doubt we go to a coffee shop and hang out. Since this was not a possibility for 2 of the weeks of Lent, we found other avenues:

1. New Seasons: they have amazing samples and free water! Plus everybody smiles at you and their hand sanitizer smells like lavender. We went here several times.

2. Petco. Or, as I like to call it "the free, tiny zoo". The baby loved it.

3. The library. Which we already frequented, but during Lent we went there on average 3-4 times a week. I even got the courage to do my first mommy/baby story time activity, and we didn't die! The baby is fixated on reading books about being "black and unique", which makes me feel super weird as I read them out loud to her. Ah well.

The Difficult parts:

The no-media week was hard, because I seem to have few de-stressors that don't involve 20 minutes of TV. Also, you know that feeling when you read TOO many good books and you feel like you might explode? Yeah, that happened. I am still assessing my dependence on media, and I know this is an issue I still need work on.

The Exciting parts:

The no-stress week was difficult (I am unused to the rhythms of contemplative life), but ultimately it turned out to be amazing, and I have continued to use Common Prayer every morning. To really engage in the Scriptures and the prayers for others does take a lot of work, but it feels like such important work. Even though I am easing into it slowly, creating a life where prayer is my first thought and not my last is high on my list of priorities. On good Friday my church opened their doors for a 24 hour prayer session and I actually went! You guys, I want to pray all the time now! And I am not just making this up to sound spiritual. It feels like a real, pressing need. I don't know where this is coming from, but I am so grateful.

In summary, I am so glad I embarked on this journey. I want my life to flow by these rhythms: prayer, creative free time, doing without, purging possessions, finding joy in the simple.

Did you learn anything from Lent this year? Were you inspired to create new patterns?

If so, I want to know!

Lent, Week 4: Spending

Wow, is it already the 4th week of Lent????? And so our experimental mutiny against excess continues (inspired, as ever, by Jen Hatmaker and her book 7).  

This week? We tackle spending. In the book, Jen and her family picked 7 places to spend money at for a whole month. Since this is only a week, I decided to make it really challenging for us. This week, we are only allowed to spend money at 2 places:

1. The gas station

2. A local food co-op

 

We happen to live really close to a pretty schnazzy food co-op. I was going to pick some uber-cheap grocery store, but I thought I would stretch myself and make this more about being wise (and local, and sustainable) with my money. The co-op has always seemed prohibitively expensive to me, but it won't be if I am not buying coffee out or a new shirt at Goodwill. So today me and the baby and a friend ambled over there (in the rain!) and shopped at the farmers market they have on Wednesdays. This is going to be a week of tofu, kale, and onions, and honey. It could be worse!

 

Here are the guidelines, if you are playing along:

Week four: Spending This week we will look at all our little justifications for spending money squarely in the eye. By curbing our own spending, we can better identify with our brothers and sisters throughout the world who have little or no money to spare. Limit all spending this week: food, drink, restaurants, entertainment, possessions: put a hold on all  them.

Practical Fasts: Pick one grocery store (preferably local), one gas station, one all-purpose store (obviously if you have bills to pay, you should do that). Don’t spend money anywhere else. Invite people over for coffee, and watch old movies that you already own. Be creative!

Prayer: This week will be another chance to repent of the idols in our life and to refocus our priorities on the kingdom of God. The Bible is full of passages on social and economic justice that we can look to for encouragement and support as we learn to do without.

 

If you need a refresher on what this is all about, go here.

 

And, as always, I want to hear any thoughts you have if you are doing this in any part!

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