Clothing, Confidence and Conviction: Thoughts on Clearing Out My Closet

So much of my life – habits, convictions and thoughts – swing on a pendulum. With an addictive personality, sometimes I have to completely give up a habit, a food, a practice, in order to regain control.

In April, I gave up sweets because I felt like I had to reset my body. In full disclosure, I was not able to go fully without, but I regained a happy medium. It took giving it up completely to allow my body to normalize. Then, when I added it back in, I was able to do so that did not involve binging on sugar and then ending up with a stomach ache.

In January, I resolved to stop using the “f-word.” While I am a fan of using strong language when it is needed to communicate an argument, cussing had become a first response to me. I would drop my keys or get cut off in traffic and suddenly an obscenity was already out of my mouth. I am excited to say that in 4 months, my language has changed for the better.

Last August I stopped drinking dark soda. I said good-bye to Coke and Dr. Pepper for good, transitioning to Sprite or Ginger Ale if I truly needed something with carbonation. I knew that I could not drink Coke in moderation; I loved it too much. I went from a former 32 ounces a day of Coke girl, to someone who drinks a decent amount of coffee, and a lot of water. Most days I don’t even miss the Coke.

I have recently swung the pendulum of my closet. While I considered taking a break from shopping, I did something more extreme – I packed away all but 50 items of clothing. I did not count how many items were hanging in my closet and on shelves prior to the transformation, but if I had to guess, it was probably close to 300. I’ve left a mixture of dresses, pants, sweaters, shirts, tank tops and jackets/blazers. Some items are my favorites, others I’ve kept because they are versatile.

IMG_3401So why? I actually wear probably 75% of the items that I own, so it’s not out of an effort to wear more items. I just want to focus on what matters. A lot of people who I respect are talking about the freedom that comes with having less. I started to wonder if they’re onto something that could be freeing in my own life.

As I started to wonder, think and pray about this closet revolution, it became clear that it was actually exactly what I needed. I’ve developed some bad habits in how I view clothing and appearance.

  •  Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that how I dressed and presented myself was more important that the skills I brought to the table. It became more about looking the part than being the part. I have skills, experiences and abilities to offer, and yet, I choose to believe that how I looked and dressed was more important. Confidence should never come from clothes instead of Christ.
  • I have become a person who does not like to repeat outfits. I take pride in always wearing new things. This leads me to buy for events, and not needs.

I wish I could blame working in retail on the bad habits I’ve development. But that would be a cop-out. Truthfully, it comes down to pride. I like to be the girl who looks together and has new things. For about a year, I’ve been able to justify this pridefulness — “Well, I let people borrow my clothes” or “At least I stay in budget” or “I wear most everything in my closet.” But, as I searched my heart, there were changes that needed to be made.

I want to encourage vulnerability in others. I want to steward my money, time and energy well. I want to focus on Godly things, not be distracted by clutter. I want my confidence to be rooted in Christ. I want to live a life worthy of the calling I’ve received. I want to live a life of freedom.

All of these desires require me to walk away from bad habits when I identify them in myself. If the Holy Spirit is convicting me in an area of righteousness, I want to obey. As inconsequential as removing items from my closet may seem (#firstworldproblems), it’s what I desire the Lord to cultivate in me that matters most. A life of contentment, rooted in confidence in Christ.

What bad habits have you broken? What benefits did you see in walking away from them?

Also: shout-out to a great group of women who were in for the challenge with me. It always helps to not feel like you’re in it alone.

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