Blog

The Closet Challenge

 

Hi, my name is Sarah and I really like clothes.

When I say I really like clothes, I mean I really, really like clothes. Let me start by saying that there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying clothing. We all need them. Some enjoy shopping for clothing more than others. But have we become attached to our clothing in ways we aren’t even aware? Have we become a people living in excess?

My fiancé just recently moved into what is going to become our apartment in just 35 days. While I’m living in my friends basement (thank you, Sarah), I also moved all of my things into “our” new apartment since I would be there in a month anyways. When I was moving over my closet, it hit me big time: I am a hoarder of clothes. Now, I’ve had this realization before. On multiple occasions I have come home with some new finds from an innocent shopping trip and quite literally have to stuff my cute new shirts or skirts or whatever the item of choice was that day in my closet with the rest of my clothes. I’ve even said to myself before, “that’s it! Every time I buy something new, I am giving something away.” In the spirit of being completely honest with you all, that resolution probably lasted a week. 

Some of you might have seen my post on twitter just a couple weeks back: 

After taking a good, hard look at myself, I’ve decided to go on a clothing fast. Just to clarify, I don’t mean I’m fasting from all clothing. I’m just limiting my options. A lot. I’m going to spend the entire month of September using 7 items of clothing. That’s right, let me repeat myself so that you understand (and so that I understand because I’m still coming to grips with what I’ve signed on for). 7 items of clothing for an entire month. Not 7 outfits. Not 7 of each item category we could think of. 7 items total. Why 7? Because it’s a biblical number. And what’s better than doing a clothing fast by yourself? Doing a clothing fast with a friend. My good friend Leah Darrow and I decided to do it together! We’re calling it the “Closet Challenge”.

Each of us has our own set of reasons for entering the fast. For me, I need a perspective shift. I want to learn detachment. I desire a deeper sense of gratitude for the things I have in my life. I’m going to be asking myself some serious questions this month. Why do I feel the pressure to look a certain way, especially at ministry events? Have I become a creature of excess? Am I attached to material things in ways I am not even aware of? 

Here’s the thing. I’m not doing this to look good on social media. I’m not doing this because I want to create a new fad. I’m not doing this just to purge my closet or make packing easier for trips. I’m doing this as a true fast. You see, many people think of fasting as something us Catholics only do during lent or on Fridays. The truth is, fasting from something can be an incredible prayer. Pope Benedict XVI has this to say about it:

Fasting is a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves ... It is a therapy to heal all that prevents [us] from conformity to the will of God…and assists us to mortify our egoism and open our heart to love of God and neighbor.

There are people in our world who have one outfit to wear for a week. There are people who don’t have clothing at all. There are countless women being stripped bare, beaten, raped and sold into slavery just because they are a female. Will a clothing fast change all that? No. I can, however, fast from convenience, excess, and material items for a month and offer it up as a prayer for my brothers and sisters across the globe. It may seem like a very small offering. I wish I had millions of dollars to break people free from poverty and slavery, but I don’t. What I do have is a beating heart and a fervent prayer, and I believe that God hears our prayers both big and small.

I know that God is going to teach me a lot in this upcoming month. It might be completely crazy to do something like this 34 days before getting married. Or it might just be the best possible way for me prepare to enter our upcoming sacrament. Detachment from the material item I’m most attached to. 

I will be blogging throughout the month of September to share reflections, challenges and anything else that comes up along the way. One more thing: Leah and I want to invite YOU to join us this month for the Closet Challenge if you feel called to. Come on, you know you want to :). Pray about it, and if you decide to join, we will all be using #TheClosetChallenge to stay together through the ups and downs. You can do anything for 30 days, especially if you make it a prayer. 

 

Here are some other links if you desire to follow along: