The thing is, it was winter. I blame this entirely on the cold weather. I mean, lying there snuggled under two four eleven blankets with a hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other? It’s easy to forget about things like sundresses and spaghetti straps.
That’s the story of how I opened my dresser drawer one hot summer day and discovered that I no longer owned any shorts. Because I read 7 in the winter time. And as I closed the book on Month Two, I simultaneously opened the door to the closet and began throwing everything I owned into a box hastily labeled “DONATE.”
Eventually logic returned to me but not before I decided that I no longer needed shorts. Or skirts. Or bathing suit cover-ups. And also bathing suits. Apparently, I confused “Donate Excess Clothing” with “A Pox On Summertime!” I just wiped summertime out of the seasons like those astronomers who pretend Pluto isn’t one of the planets.*
(It’s a problem for me but the people who would have been blinded by my pasty white legs are giving thanks to Jen Hatmaker.)
One box grew to two and then three and then fifteen. Fifteen boxes of clothes and accessories and if I had stacked them around me they would have been a physical representation of the spiritual wall I had been building as I attached myself to my possessions.
(Or an incredibly awesome box fort.)
After I read 7 I saw abundance everywhere. There was the fruitful, the “I came so that you may have life and have it in abundance” and there was the amassed, the abundance of things that I collected and held on to so tightly that it kept the former at bay.
7 changed my entire life.
But the breakthrough came in my closet. That’s not even a spiritual metaphor.
Except now that I think about it, one time, in college my closet was literally too full of clothes for me to fit in so I asked my roommate if I could borrow her closet. Not her clothes, her actual closet. So that I could pray in it. Because my own prayer closet was too full of clothes.
(Actually, that probably is some sort of metaphor.)
(Also, yes I WAS praying about a boy and a few years later he totally married me. Let this be a lesson to you. I don’t know what that lesson is except maybe make friends with someone who is less messy than you so you can room with them in college and pray in their closet about your future husband.)
I remembered reading this post by Angie Smith, one where she was teaching her girls to give beyond their castoffs. To give sacrificially, to part with the hard things. It’s easy to rehome those pants that emphasize all the things you don’t like about your post-childbirth bum. You, pants that did nothing to make me look like Pippa Middleton, you will not be missed.
It’s the strappy pink heels that I don’t want to part with. Barely worn, sitting pretty on my shelf they sneak into my conscience and say “Give.” And I’m all “No, I want wear you because who doesn’t wear heels to chase their toddler? And also you can’t even talk because you are shoes so stop saying convicting sorts of things to me.”
But more of 7 pours out of my heart and I recall the part about how people need shoes, good shoes, not ones that are worn down. I want to give and give well.
I gingerly place the pink strappy heels on top of a discarded bridesmaid dress and as the daylight flashes across the sequins and the sparkles dance over the bare closet wall I think of the girl who will find her prom attire in a box of donated clothing. I am ashamed. I am humbled. I am committed. This is only the smallest of starts