Saturday, April 17, 2010

Man looks on the outward appearance. . .

I've recently been convicted about my own materialism. It's been an ongoing mental struggle, and I decided to share it here on my blog so you can all hold me accountable. . . and maybe relate with me.

Since I became a mom, I have become OBSESSED with things. Primarily, I am obsessed with baby things, and chief among those, clothing. Now, if you looked in my daughter's closet and I could tell you how much I've actually spent on her garments, you would probably disagree with me. I don't buy clothes for her very often, and when I do, they are always always incredible deals. I was oh-so-showered with cute things at all my baby showers, and when I pulled out the "save for next year tub" I'd packed up last summer, I found a bunch of stuff for this s
ummer (thanks to you if you're reading this and you gave me 12 mo summer clothes! That was super considerate!!). I also have a VERY kind crafting friend who set Susie up with shirts and shorts for this summer. I also have an extremely generous mother-in-laws that buys her far-away granddaughter tons of cute things, and a sister-in-law who has lent me her daughter's hand-me-downs. Because of all that generosity,I could probably only list a dozen or so outfits I've actually purchased (not counting socks from the dollar store or whatever).

But regardless of my thriftiness, I think my obsession has still raged in my mind. I may not be falling into the trap of over-spending or hoarding, but I am still materialistic nonetheless. With Susie's first birthday coming up, I've been esp
ecially dwelling on EXACTLY what kind of birthday outfit I want her to have. Wait, I shouldn't say I started dwelling on this recently, I basically found a dress I adored LAST YEAR. . . thank goodness I didn't go ahead and splurge on the $50 lovely-but-overpriced garment. I bought a adorable vintage sailor dress for $6 on consignment, and socks and shoes are covered. . . now I'm considering a new hair clip and of course the important first birthday bib! I have not spent any money yet, but I've decided I'll let myself splurge on that if I can learn to sew her a bib myself. See? Thrifty! Clearly, I'm overcoming this battle with materialism.

No. . . I'm not. I was jarred awake when I received a recent World Vision catalog in the mail. I gave World Vision gifts at Christmas, so I guess that put me on their mailing list.
On the page where you can sponsor new clothes for 15 children for $35, there was an absolutely adorable picture of a little boy holding new shoes and wearing a new baseball cap, grinning from EAR TO EAR! It had this quote: "There is no one to buy me clothes. . . my clothes are torn and dirty."

It took my breath away. I about burst into tears. What has Susie ever worn but GORGEOUS and nearly BRAND NEW clothing?? Oh, how selfish I am to constantly be focused on the outward appearance! I must dig in and battle this sin HARDER before it begins to affect her as she grows up. I need to remember the gospel, and preach Christ to myself! I
must work immediately to get to the heart of my materialism, and stay out of shops, and off etsy and watch less television. . .

And I've decided to fight where I'll feel it. I'm giving the money I make this weekend at a city-wide consignment sale to World Vision. Maybe I'll buy new clothing for some children. Or support an AIDS orphan, or send a new mother a baby-care kit. It depends on how much I sell.

Anyone out there want to join me? 'Tis the season for rummage sales and consignment sales, and maybe you are someone who sells your stuff to make a little extra pocket money. Or maybe you make a little extra some other way -- a little "mad money" that isn't really essential, or really part of your family's budget. Do you want to join me in showing your kiddos how blessed we are here to have MORE than enough, and that it is a joy to bless others? Please at least click on the World Vision link and take a look at the faces of those poverty-stricken people. If you're like me, it might make your daughter's new hair bow seem less important.


Sizzledowski said...

Gret, my own struggle with materialism has led me to make sure I am giving. is a really cool organization to give to.

Anonymous said...

this is an ongoing battle in the world we live visual. We did a Beth Moore Study on Daniel and found out our society today is very much like that of the Babylonian Empire. It became a society of greed and materialism. Susie will benefit much from your awareness along this line. I love you!!!! Aunt Diane

James and Christen said...

I think here I struggle with a backward type of materialism. It is pretty much impossible to stay up to date fashion wise here. They have cute clothes and often in modern styles, (I think) but there are never sales and everything is pretty expensive. I have the It's not fair that my kids can't have...syndrome. You wouldn't believe the kind of jealousy that looking at FB pictures can produce.

But then, I remember that NOTHING in this world has eternal value outside of saved souls. I am humbled again and focus on developing a heart for God in myself and my children. We all fall so far short but God is full of mercy and steadfast love.

I would say it is a blessing that God has brought this sin to your attention and I will be praying for you that you will be able to live counter-culture. Sad to say that Christian Culture, especially church, has fed this problem. Just think of how much competition goes on in the mind of teenagers every Sunday morning when they walk into church and compare outfits, shoes and jewelry.

Thanks for sharing your heart. Pray for me too. ~ Christen

Gretchen said...

Well. . . I'm pretty disappointed. . . I sold all of 5 things at the consignment sale, and I'm thinking the $ will barely cover my consignor fee. So, though my intentions were good, I'll need to find another way to donate to World Vision.

Christen -- absolutely I will pray for you. Thanks for sharing.

Emily Benzing said...

I love that you have highlighted the difference between overspending and materialism. I think its a tendancy for people to assume that if they're not wasting a lot of money than they are not materialistic. Materialism, however has nothing to do with how much something costs, and everything to do with why temperal things are so important. I have struggled with this off and on too... Daniel reaaaalllly helps me in this area, because he is not materialistic at all...When I am feeling like I'm really behind because I still don't have an ipod, he reminds me that he just got his first cell phone. :)

Christen, what an amazing women you are! What a struggle that must be for you to feel like you are sacrificing being able to give your kids what you would like to. God will reward you so much for that! You are definitly an inspiration to me!