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(Seven} The Burden of Clothes

At the beginning of the summer, I joined a wonderful group of Christian bloggers in the Summer of 7.  In the book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess, author Jen Hatmaker challenges herself to simplify and remove the excess from her life in 7 different areas: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress.  In the Summer of 7 challenge, bloggers looked at these different areas and tackled them in thier own way.  I ended up spending my entire summer in St Louis and therefore couldn’t participate in Summer of 7.  I had full intentions of continuing the challenge solo when I got back home to West Texas, but yay! The lovely participants of Summer of 7 directed me to another group I can participate with!  I have joined the Bloom (In)Courage book club, and Seven happens to be there current book!  I am so excited!  I have already completed the book, and it is really, really a phenomenal book and very eye opening.  Even though I have finished the book,  each week I will participating and sharing with you how Seven has impacted my life and my family, and linking up over at Bloom.

So lets pick up right where we left off: Clothes week.

I have never been a huge clothes shopper and mostly because I don’t feel like I have any style.  Could someone send me to “What not to Wear?”  I need someone to tell me how to dress! Eli on the other hand, I just love to dress him! But I don’t believe in buying him expensive clothes when he will grow out of them like 4 minutes after I put them on him.   I’m a big fan of hand me downs for my kiddo, and I pretty much only shop at garage sales and Once Upon a Child for him.  

Although I have cute clothes, I often lack the confidence to feel good in them.  I know that stems from my struggles with negative body image.  So while I have never really struggled with the an over-consumerism on clothing (I don’t feel like I gotta have it just because I can), I do struggle with feeling good in my clothes.  Over the past 2 years, I have been on a weight loss journey and that has made this struggle even more intense.  Because of that struggle, I have held on to clothes and shoes that I haven’t worn in years.  I still had stuff in my closet from middle school/high school.  Seriously, what’s wrong with me?  There was this one pair of black shoes that I have not worn since high school.  I graduated high school in 2003.  I have issues.

This weekend, Cory and I went through our closets.  For the first 4 years of married life, I weighed about 150 lbs, except for during pregnancy… I got to 190! Yikes! And that is where my struggles with body image started.   Over the past 2 years, I have lost over 60 lbs and I am down to 120ish.  Oh man that feels good.  But why, oh why, have I held on to all those clothes?

I think I held on to some of that because those were my “skinny days” and I just thought maybe someday I can get back into them.  But do I really want to look like I am still in high school?  Geez, I have enough trouble with that already.  Everyone always thinks I am so young! Maybe when I hit 30 in a few years, I will actually look like I have hit my 20s 😉  At the beginning of the year, I had gone through my closet and “de-fatted” it and took all my clothes that no longer fit and put them in a big plastic tub, thinking to myself “well, I better keep these just in case I pork out again someday.”  I so don’t want to go back there!  A recovering alcoholic doesn’t (shouldn’t!) keep a bottle of alcohol around as a ‘just in case.’  Why do I think I need to horde these clothes that resemble a lifestyle I don’t even want to go back to?

Once again, I have issues. Ahem…

For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.  Matthew 6:21

As we cleaned out our closets, I discovered why I had held on to these things.  Obviously my heart has not been in the right place. I struggled so deeply with loving myself and my body that I held onto the “skinny clothes” because if I could one day get back into them, then my life would be complete.  And I held on to the “fat clothes” because I didn’t have the confidence in myself to live a healthy lifestyle.  I just knew that someday I would end up back in them.

I prayed as I looked in my closet that God would open my eyes and help me to let go of these clothing items and the emotions attached to them.  After all, they are just clothes!  And He answered my prayer.  Just like that, I no longer felt like I needed to hold on to these things. Oh my goodness, God is good.  So into the donation pile they went!  What a liberating feeling!  I did keep my maternity clothes and some of my “150 lb clothes” that will make for good maternity clothes, since the the next time I am pregnant, I intend to only get to about 150 lbs instead of 190 lbs!

Between Cory and I, we came up with 92 clothing items to donate.

I took all of it to the Crisis Center of the Plains where families recieve a voucher and can come in and redeem thier voucher for whatever it is they need.  The clothes are free to them and it truly helps families in need.

As I walked out of the Crisis Center, I praised God!  I feel so free now!  It has made my heart so happy to be able to help those in need, and to be released from the emotional burden those clothes had caused me.

Thank you Jen Hatmaker for writing a book that makes my eyes nearly pop out of my head because it is so life changing, and thank you Jesus for working in my heart!

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