My Lenten Challenge seems to be much misunderstood. The giving up of all purchases other than essentials is not about saving money (though I assume it will); it is not about denial (though I will be denied that which I am used to letting myself have) and it is certainly not about making agonising decisions about what constitutes an essential.
A couple of years ago I read “Not buying it” by Judith Levine (you can read her blog here ( http://www.judithlevine.com/). I heartily recommend it, it is a fascinating and very personal look at our consumer culture. It is funny, provocative, practical and acknowledges that great pleasure can be had from something quite frivolous; frivolous does not always equal waste.
I have gone back to the book and dipped in and out of it many times. It wafts around in the backspace of my mind and is probably the driving force behind my personal challenge. Because it is not about what but why.
It is not about what I buy or don’t buy. It is not about long agonising discussions about whether I can justify a dress on the grounds I need it for an event, that is a decision to be made between me and my conscience. It is not about being given a public pat on the back for keeping my purse zipped shut. It is not about saving money.
It is about why we need to feed ourselves with things we don’t need. It is about making conscious decisions about our resources, and by “our”I mean all our resources, not just mine or yours. It is about being mindful of what gives us joy. It is about distinguishing between need and want, and between passionate desire and a passing fancy.
It is not about living without, it is about living with and knowing that what I am living with I have chosen with care.