Lessons from a Clothes Shopping Fast

Distinguishing between needs and wants—and why it's important to our souls.
Lessons from a Clothes Shopping Fast

A few years ago I received an e-mail from an old friend. Sarah explained that she'd recently decided to purge her home of unwanted clothing and other items.

"It's shameful," she confessed. "Talk about stuff! I kept thinking about Jesus' caution about not storing up treasures on earth. I made a personal commitment not to purchase any more clothing for myself for one year. So far it feels good … and freeing."

I was intrigued. Though I'd always known Sarah to be a person of integrity, the random act of discipleship had surprised me. After all, Sarah wasn't some communal-living Jesus-hippy. She wasn't one of those ring-nosed, lock-headed radicals. Rather, my friend was a minivan-driving mom, with grown children, living out what she thought was right.

Truth be told, Sarah was living the way I wanted to be living. Before her e-mail had landed in my inbox, something in my gut—some would call wantedconscience—had already begun to tug. For months I'd been bothered by the obvious fact that, although I had all the clothes I needed, certainly more than I could cram into my drawers, I still kept buying more. And although I'd even had a sense that I was being called to embrace this kind of 21st century "fast," refraining for a period from buying new clothes, I hadn't yet gathered the resolve to begin.

Sensing that Sarah's weird spiritual discipline might have my name on it, I cautiously entertained the possibility of joining her.

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Margot Starbuck

Margot Starbuck, award-winning writer and speaker, is a graduate of Westmont College and Princeton Theological Seminary. A TCW regular contributor and columnist, Margot speaks regularly on discipleship, justice, and living love in the world God loves. Connect with Margot on Facebook, Twitter, or at MargotStarbuck.com.

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