January Challenge: Simplify & Unclutter
As part of my mission to make 2014 the year of the Lord, I chose to end 2013 and start the new year with a social-media free 10 days. I would have loved to do it longer, but since part of my job is to manage social media pages, it's kind of difficult to not log into facebook.
At first it wasn't too hard, but then New Years happened and it was incredibly hard not to post photos of my friends and I celebrating and to see how everyone else was ringing in the new year. But, despite that, I felt a secret thrill at this small form of self-discipline and freedom to fully be in every moment.
That's why I'm hoping to return to my original challenge of unplugging for the weekends - no social media or aimless browsing, but time spent with intention and purpose online.
Cutting back on my social media presence is just one small part of the things I'm hoping to accomplish with this January challenge. Here are a few more:
- Unsubscribe from all those emails and newsletters that I don't actually read on a regular basis. From department stores to websites and blogs I no longer care about, every day my inbox is filled with stuff I end up either deleting right away or merely skimming really quick and deleting. That's precious seconds and minutes wasted every day that could be spent doing something worthwhile.
- Clear out my social media feeds. I've already started unfollowing and unfriending people on Facebook and Twitter and it's like a weight being lifted off. There are some people that I just don't need to keep up with, like former classmates who I worked on one group project with in middle school. Plus, I really want to simplify my feeds so they're full of encouraging and inspiring updates from people I admire and/or really close to.
- Eat and grocery shop with intention. Living on my own means I need to buy my own food - a science that I have yet to perfect. I always end up with too much food that goes bad fast, or not enough, which forces me to make multiple grocery runs through out the week. This month, I want to try to be more strict about planning out my meals and a corresponding grocery list. Plus, I also want to eat a more plant-based diet (lots of juicing in my future, since I got myself a juicer for Christmas - can't wait to try it out!).
- Clean out my closet and donate, donate, donate! I have so much clothes (and purses, and shoes!), it's not even okay. The reality is I wear like a quarter of the items I own on a regular basis and all the rest only come out once in a blue moon. This month, I want to go through my closet and give away all the stuff I don't wear anymore. My goal is to cut my wardrobe at least in half, to only a few key pieces that I can mix and match to wear on a regular basis. There will definitely be a post about this later!
- Improve my time management. The thing about going to school full-time after a years of juggling multiple jobs, school and extracurricular activities, is that it makes me very inefficient with managing my days.
The Contentment Challenge
When I first read Nancy's post about the Contentment Challenge, I had a similar reaction as Kat, that this surely wasn't right for me. I'm a poor law student, already living on a budget, so it's not like I even had the funds to shop that often. But the truth is, I still do - a shirt on sale here, some home decor items there or yet another little trinket that catches my eye. I come into a store and struggle with not buying something on sale that I desire. I have the hardest time saying no and walking away.
Yet the Lord has continued to speak to my heart about my spending habits and my tendency to accumulate stuff in my life that just leaves less room for Him to work.
“Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:11-12
So, from for the next three months (January-March), I'll be participating in the #ContentmentChallenge. I love how Kat phrased the guidelines, so if you'd like to participate, check those out here. But, here are the basics for motivation:
- Fast from shopping & spending over the next three months. I will resist the temptation to buy more stuff that I really don't need and instead focus on being content with what I already have. Because I am incredibly blessed and too often I forget that as I join in with the rest of our society for more material wealth.
- Necessities and gifts are okay. Gas, toilet paper, groceries, toothpaste, small gifts for loved ones - the basics are fine, but no more clothes, shoes, household decor, etc...
- Choose 1-3 inspiring books to read during this time (in addition to daily Bible readings). I've started reading Love Does by Bob Goff (brilliant!), but I also have my eye on Seven, Interrupted, Gifts of Imperfection, and Radical (do you sense a common theme here?). What are your recommendations? Do share!
- Actively pursue something to replace my tendency to buy stuff. Instead of spending time shopping and trolling the internet for more stuff (whether it's products or "inspiration"), I'm making writing my creative pursuit during this time - I have so much on my heart that I need to put on paper: an e-course launching March, blog posts for this site, a book? I just read this post and it inspired me so much - Rachel woke up at 5:30 am every day to get some writing in before her kiddos woke up, so who am I to say I don't have enough time to write as a full-time student? Please pray for me though. As always, I pray that my words glorify Him, and not my own ambitious pursuits.
Looks like it's going to be a busy month! Will you participate in the January challenge? I'll be documenting my progress on social media using #Tirzah2014, so if you're joining us, please make sure to use this hashtag - let's inspire each other to make room for God to work in our lives!
PS. If you're participating in this challenge, make sure to grab our Year of the Lord button in the sidebar to share on your blog and social media pages!
Images via Pinterest.