I haven’t observed Lent in several years but this year felt different. I feel called to make some lifestyle changes for the better. and it’s nothing really new - I’ve been contemplating these changes for months now - years even - but never fully pushed myself to do it. So here it is:
I came across a blogger who implemented a shopping ban in an effort to live a minimal lifestyle and make do with what she already owned. This resonated with me, for multiple reasons. But mostly, it not-so-subtly reminded me that I have a shopping habit. The age of internet shopping, Prime shipping, and enticing sales sent straight to inbox has made it extremely easy to become a mindless shopper. A lot of us, myself included, shop for that instant feel-good high that comes with getting something new or fresh. When I’m unhappy, I shop online. When I’m bored, I shop online. When I’ve had one too many glasses of wine, I shop online… a lot….. (The husband of a friend of mine once bought dog boots and an ATV online after having too much to drink one night - who knew you could buy an ATV online? Luckily there was a three-day grace period in which they could cancel the order LOL).
Point is, I shop to feel “better.” But it doesn’t really make me feel any better than I did an hour before I hit that “submit purchase” button. In fact, it makes my life more complicated: I accumulate a lot of stuff and spend money that could be going towards paying off debt or saved towards our future house. Sure, the $30 spend on a dress online last night doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the other seven $30-purchases made over the last month become a substantial chunk of change. So in an effort to curb my shopping habit and save money, I am implementing a shopping ban for the next 40 days. No clothes, no plants, no just-because purchases. The only exceptions are the necessary items like toiletries, groceries, etc.
People say that you shouldn’t take something away without having something to take it’s place. So when I feel that urge to scroll through that online sale promotion, or try that supplement that someone on Instagram is raving about, I am going to put away my phone and MOVE: The second part to my 40-day fast is to replace shopping with movement and reflection. This is where yoga comes in. I find myself appreciating life and praising God the most when I am either outside experiencing nature, or when I am on my yoga mat. So if Lent is about relinquishing material desires and finding deeper ways of connecting with Jesus, turning to him instead of turning to shopping seems like the best thing to do.
I have to admit, this idea wasn’t originally mine. Caroline Williams from the Yoga Abbey is hosting a 40-day challenge to spend 10 minutes in quiet and meditation. An excerpt from her weekly email says this:
“For dust you are and to dust you will return.” - Genesis 3:19
Rather than clinging to these words as a curse or pronouncement of punishment, we lean into these words as a reminder of our place in God’s universe – God is God and we are not. As we enter into this season of Lent, a time of repentance, sacrifice, and self-denial, we make space to remember that the timing, outcome, and our hope rests in God. - Caroline Williams
Reflecting on that truth - to dust we will return - will be on my heart this week and I move forward with my own Lent fast. I will keep everyone posted on my shopping band and, who knows, maybe it can become a long-lasting habit!