in the spirit of being a hot mess…

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it’s now been 3 and a half months since the challenge ended.

i haven’t written much about clothes since then. mostly because there’s an inner battle going on and i don’t really know what to do with it.

i enjoy reading style blogs; especially those that inspire me to remix and work with what i’ve got. coughaudreycough. but i struggle with feeling like i spend too much time thinking about those things. beyond that, i can’t bring myself to write about them on here much right now, and i struggle even more with buying clothes because sure, i could continue to build my closet and have unlimited adorable outfits…but there’s this nagging thought train in my head.

that train carries with it questions like, “why do i care about this? these things don’t last.”

and rebuttals: “but i want to look cute; it makes me feel put together and then i’m more productive.”

and even more rebuttals: “but there are people who are STARVING and i just spent $20 on a shirt that will join my 7400 other shirts.”

and on and on and on and on it goes.

shouldn’t i care more about people and their needs than about adding on to my closet?

shouldn’t i spend more time focused on who the Lord wants me to become and less on how i look?

shouldn’t i spend my money to bless others rather than myself?

these are the sumo-wrestling thoughts in my head. obviously the answers to those questions are yes, but where is the balance? i realize that i tend to lean toward legalism and want to avoid that equally-dangerous trap.

honestly, i don’t know where the Lord is going with this, but something is changing. it’s scary, but i’m praying that i keep wanting it more than i want my comfort. because comfort is nice and ignorance can feel like bliss.

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12 Comments

  • Corrie April 18, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    I relate to this on every level : the struggle, the questions, the thought train, the personal tendency toward legalism, the yearning for a Christ-honoring, make-it-ALL-count-for-eternity balance. And not wanting to ignore any of it.
    Thank you, Caitlin…and may we both seek out, know, and DO what it takes to glorify Him, “you in your small corner, and I in mine.”

    • Caitlin Author April 23, 2013 at 1:49 AM

      Corrie, thank you for sharing your eloquent and encouraging words. YES! May we all seek out, know, and do what it takes to glorify Him, each in our small corners. Ah! I just want to shout, “Amen!” :)

  • Lane Shell April 18, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Thanks for sharing!! What a perfect post. My preacher shared a while back one of the most dangerous places for us to be is in our comfort zones and I find this to be so true. Im reminded of what the Lord said to the apostle Paul “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I pray the Lord will continue to reveal more of His heart to you!

    • Caitlin Author April 23, 2013 at 1:50 AM

      Lane, that is so wise. Comfort zones are deadly but oh so enticing! Thank you for your prayer! I pray the same for you. May He reveal more of His heart to us, and may He bless us by allowing us to become more like His heart rather than our own!

  • Amy April 19, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    I really needed to see this post tonight :). I have been struggling with this exact same thing lately, and what really helped me was reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker (which I actually found out about through your blog–I have also read Interrupted which is just as amazing). I struggle with thinking about style and shopping (a lot!). After reading 7 I felt so encouraged and gave away so many clothes and put myself on a shopping ban–but I feel like I completely abandoned that and have gone back to my “old ways.” I think what I was missing personally was the essence of WHY I was giving my things away/trying to living more minimally. I was missing the POINT, which I’m now starting to see–to live my life for Christ through living my life for others, not for things :). Again, thanks for this post! Your blog has been a huge encouragement in my life :)

    • Caitlin Author April 23, 2013 at 1:53 AM

      Amy- isn’t 7 amazing? And I agree; Interrupted is just as good! I love that you’re thinking about the why behind the actions. I think you’ve got it; the why’s make the difference. If they’re not right, the point is missed. Thanks for taking time to be so encouraging and share your life with me!

  • Susan April 19, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Thank you so much Caitlin for your honesty. I am coming from the other direction…never spending any money on clothes…just recently starting to enjoy expressing who I am through my clothing. If it consumes you, definitely back off. I enjoy the idea of making the most of what you already have. I work with teenage girls and think the way we, as adults express ourselves through the way we dress speaks volumes to them. Maybe you have a new ministry building. I will be praying for you. Blessings!

    • Caitlin Author April 23, 2013 at 2:02 AM

      Susan, you’ve given me a lot to think about. And I think we could some things from each other :) I, too, am attracted to the idea of making what I have stretch further. It’s like a puzzle and can be so fun, but, as you said, when it turns consuming, it’s imperative to turn back. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a pendulum swinging! Because back the other way, there is that piece that you mentioned that I just can’t get away from- I think it’s why the show What Not To Wear has always captivated me: how we dress affects how we feel and gives off a certain message to those around us. In some cases, what we wear can transform us; for good or for bad.

      I pray that He will use you greatly to impact the girls you work with. Thank you for your prayers- I appreciate them more than you will ever know!

  • Audrey @ Putting Me Together April 19, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Oh dear friend, like Corrie said, I also relate to this on every level. I don’t have a clearcut response for you about balance, and I don’t even think such a thing exists. Where does the line get drawn, where is “balance” found? I don’t know. Like, should we not have two cars and use the money to build a school in another country? Should we not eat cookies because they’re not necessary for survival and use the $3 for something that builds the Kingdom more? Where is the line?

    And to some the Lord gives the wealth of nations as a gift and a blessing yet to another he says, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.” What are we supposed to make of that?

    Like I said, I have no answers, mostly empathy. But I do know that it can get extreme for me if I go by guilt rather than soft-hearted conviction. And I also know that I don’t want that to be an excuse for me to never have to surrender more of my life in the name of “not wanting to do it purely out of guilt.” For myself, I have to keep asking God to keep my heart soft so that I can be grateful for the blessing of things such as a full closet, or our second car, or whatever, but also to continue being open hearted about it and to hold it loosely, knowing it is all his. If he asked me to get rid of it all, how willingly and readily would I be able to do it? Honestly, at this point it would take a lot more griping and wrestling than I want to admit to, but I hope that each day my heart moves more and more towards being completely open handed.

    I want to be as generous and sacrificing as the Lord is asking me to be, but I also want to do it joyfully. When I get lost in that train of questions of “how much” and “how little” it’s usually indicates that my heart isn’t joyful. And instead of trying to answer those questions I need to stop and ask God first to change my tightly gripped, hard, or guilt-driven heart and to make me a joyful giver. And personally, when I am giving joyfully I don’t ask as many questions. It’s way easier to give up that $20 shirt. It’s like a no-brainer at that point. It’s also way more fun. And on the flip side it’s easier to joyfully receive God’s grace and even to receive a gift of a $20 shirt from God.

    Thanks for your honesty, Caitlin! Thanks for continually calling us to wrestle with these things as well.

    • Caitlin Author April 23, 2013 at 2:07 AM

      Audrey, you are so wise. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I feel like there are so many things to take away from this that I can’t even wrap my words into a response yet, even several days later, except to say thank you. I am so blessed by you constantly, and thankful for your friendship. The Lord uses you in many ways- thank you for speaking right into my heart with this note!

  • Liz Crawford April 26, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Caitlin, you’re blogs are always so refreshing to me; I love your honesty. Like the other lovely women who have posted said, I also relate to this post on so many levels and the questions you’re asking are exactly what I’m asking God & processing as well. I’m starting to feel the change in my soul as well and its scary but exciting to see how God will work through this. I’m excited to share in this journey with you. Praying for you! xo Love, your NY friend Liz <3

    • Caitlin Author April 29, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      Liz,

      Thank you for your encouragement! I love getting to share in your journey, as well. Lots of love from Texas :)

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