Okokok, I sorta cheated. I started this project a day early. But before you go thinking it’s because I am just so super generous that I couldn’t help myself, let me be real with you; I DID NOT WANT TO.
It’s pouring BUCKETS here in L.A. right now and as everyone knows, NOBODY in this town is rain-equipped. I mean, you could be Scrooge McDuck, taking dips in your money bin, eating giants feasts every night, living in the lap of luxury, but even with all that money, you know what you’d still be missing? Any sense (or ability to drive) when the cloud start spewing. I truly believe that rain is the great equalizer here in the City of Angels.
Don’t get me wrong, I count myself 100% guilty of the above, but the one thing I do have is rain boots…two pair in fact. WHY? Because I tend think I am Noah and buy clothing in pairs so in the event they go extinct I am prepared.
Anyway, I currently have a pair on my feet, but recently decided I’d sell the other pair that have never been worn…cause not even my fashion sense is bad enough to wear rain boots when it’s not raining, I have some standards (albeit limited). So today I sat in my office talking to the annoying wench in my head for about 2 hours before I decided that yes, these boots were not meant to be sold, they needed to be given away. To keep these oh-so-adorable boots warm and dry in here while someone outside had soggy wet feet would make me not only extremely selfish, but a fraud. I can’t very well attempt to lead this charge of giving ’til it hurts, while hoarding my excess.
So I did it. And it holy crap, it was hard.
I had such a bad attitude and was so judgmental. I debated even writing this because I am so disappointed in myself.
“She says these will fit her, but I bet they won’t, she’s lying,” I thought to myself.
“What if she just sells them? I could make really good money on them and it’s not like I make a lot here. I deserve that money.”
Oh my gosh.
The hardest part about hearing my own voice say these things is that I would be ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED AND APPALLED if I heard you say them. I’d lose my sh**, fly off the handle, tell you, you were part of the problem and I’d do it with such self-righteous indignation you could butter bread with it. (What? What does that mean?)
I think it’s safe to say I have a looong way to go. Lord, help me.
So it looks like my original plans might need to be tweaked. I’d previously intended to give away everything at the end of the month in one big swoop, but I am starting to rethink that strategy. Perhaps I need to make a conscious effort to physically hand my belongings to their benefactors daily or something of that sort. I’m all ears if any of you have any ideas.
(Insert loud audible sigh.)
Lastly, I am beyond thankful and thrilled at the number of people that have already written and committed to March Against Excess. I believe in the power (and safety and accountability) in numbers. If any of you feel so inclined I’d love, love, love to share some of YOUR stories on here as we join hands and give together. Let me know if you’d be interested and we will set something up.
I’m already exhausted, but man, I am also really, really excited. I want to be different. I want to be better.
One thought on “March Against Excess Day #-1”
First of all, thanks again for having the guts to follow through with your convictions. First steps are always hard, but just keep breathing and before you know it, you’ll feel the weight of the maintenance of stuff lift and you’ll love the feeling.
I’m not sure if I have helpful ideas, but I might have some thoughts for you to consider that perhaps may spark some creativity in ways to make this endeavor a tiny less painful. It’s probably a good thing that it’s painful now since I think God’s calling your attention to some of those important inner dialogues to reveal the hidden things in your heart, but if you had to go through that EVERY TIME you gave something away, that probably wouldn’t be sustainable…especially since Jesus said that his yoke is easy.
Following the cue from Philippians 4:8, I think after you do a bit of processing and acknowledging your thoughts that you “deserve” this or that thing of grace from God, make sure you shift your attention to something positive. It can be something just generally optimistic like: “Maybe she will sell those boots for cash, but maybe she’ll use the cash and investment in mutual funds!” Or maybe medicine or something that will actually help her. And/or connect your heart to the Gospel as it’s tied to the rainboots. Like: “Man, those are really nice boots and she may completely squander them or not take care of them…but don’t I squander really amazing things that God gives me?” I’m pretty sure God’s given you more than just those nice rainboots. Bask in and mull over the beauty of God’s generosity to you personally. It helps to give things away when you start to realize you bought those things from a job that you got because God provided the opportunity and circumstances for it (like being born in modern day America).
Give it 20 hours.
The 10,000 hour rule says it takes about that long to become an expert at something. We are mega-experts in shopping for ourselves and accumulating stuff. Thankfully, according to this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MgBikgcWnY it takes less than 10,000 hours to learn how to be more naturally generous. It may take more time, but I advised a group of women to spend a few minutes a day consciously speaking well of themselves instead of picking themselves apart (which they were all mega-experts at), record the time and see if after 20 hours they notice any differences.
Use a lettuce knife.
In Tim Feriss’ book The 4 Hour Chef, he talks about how he learned knife skills and other complex and scary cooking techniques by taking some of the danger out of the practice. So while he watched TV, he practiced cutting things with a lettuce knife so he wouldn’t get cut and wouldn’t be afraid to move the knife a little bit faster at a time. There’s all sorts of ways you can take baby steps towards being a generous person that won’t cost much, but will help build habits of generosity like buying coffee for the person behind you or eating a little less so you can give it to someone else.
Anyway, I hope any of that was helpful. I’ll be thinking more of how to shed some of my stuff too. Thanks for leading the march!