“How is the contentment challenge going?” GREAT!
As many of you know, last week, the first of February, I began my 90 day journey of eliminating excess in my life. That means no shopping, no buying unnecessary things such as eating out and going to the movies and truly allowing myself to be grateful for what I do have.
This first week has already brought about such change in my day to day life and has opened my eyes to the freedom that comes with gratitude. With the help of my roommate, I have created three journals for this challenge-one for each month. These journals allow me to note my progress, my setbacks, and my triumphs on a day to day basis and hopefully I will be able to see a difference by the end of each week, each month, and the 90 days! However, what I desire the most is for this challenge to cultivate the true importance of contentment within me, one that will last for years to come.
One of my favorite sayings is, “collect moments, not things.” I think this truly encompasses how I feel during this season. I am finding solace in the little things. I was able to finish a FANTASTIC book last week and read and finish an AMAZING book today (If you haven’t read or heard of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, you really should because it might rock your world). I had the great opportunity to babysit some sweet kids, dog sit for a precious doggie, and have cooked for myself almost everyday, a feat for me!
I have noticed my mind changing in the littlest of ways. Instead of trying to rush things along like I always do, I have found myself taking in each moment, and savoring it. I have been able to buy healthy groceries (only necessary items!) and avoid the temptation of purchasing cookies or fun trinkets while I’m there. I think that because my options are limited, it makes it much easier to make a decision about things. Since I am limiting myself to eating at home, I don’t have to decide whether or not I want Chickfila or Panera. I plan my meals ahead of time and don’t have to waste time trying to figure it all out. Because of this, I have found myself craving healthier foods: avocados, sweet potatoes, and smoothies! I have also been working out a little (its just never going to be easy!) But its a start.
Besides changing the way I view food and my personal health, this challenge is showing me the ugly truth about how often I spend money without reason. For example, upon writing down all my expenses for January, I went to Target and spent over $20 SIX times within the month! That is money that I could have saved or even spent in a better way. This idol of materialism has been a cathartic release for me for so long and it is disgusting how wrong it is from the outside. I continue to pray that this challenge strips me of those covetous thoughts and points me to what I NEED.
Cooking, reading, working, and writing have consumed my first week–but I also spent my first weekend with Cole, my long distance boyfriend, without spending money. While most couples in their twenties may find it difficult to have fun and date without going out to eat, to a movie, or shopping, we had the best weekend just by spending time together, making food and hiking all day at Mammoth Cave National Park. Thankfully the weather was beautiful this weekend and in addition to watching One Tree Hill (our favorite past time) we were able to spend time outside which is something I absolutely love to do! I am so thankful that Cole supports me wholeheartedly in this journey and encourages me daily to continue being grateful. If you have any *free* date ideas for us while I am participating in this challenge, please let me know!
Overall, this week has been much better than I imagined it would be. While I have to look away when I see Target in the distance and internally cry knowing I can’t get a new mug or something like that, the reward I feel is much greater than the alternative. Thank you to all those that have contacted me and are joining me in this challenge. I am excited to see where these next eleven weeks will take us. ONTO WEEK TWO!
Here is what my first week of the contentment challenge brought: