Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fasting From More

I'll never forget the day God put Noonday on my heart. I had viewed the website a million times and created a wish list for my husband. The beauty of the handmade jewelry caught my eye and the faces of the beautiful people who made them tugged at my heart. This was my first introduction to Fair Trade and it rocked my world. My heart pounded with excitement at the thought that my choice of where to spend my money held the power to change someones life.

One day something happened though. Something deep within me longed to do more than just purchase from fair trade companies...I wanted to BE A PART OF IT. But Noonday scared me and I pushed against becoming an ambassador for a few months before I ever mentioned it to my husband and friends. You see, one of my GREATEST struggles is the love of money. Anyone who knows me is probably laughing because y'all know my family of four is crammed into a one bedroom house with one car and a savings account that gets depleted every time we need groceries. The truth is though, the love of money has NOTHING to do with how much you possess. Shopping for me has always been a hobby whether it's browsing through stores, perusing the internet, or dreaming it up in my own head. I may not have much stuff, but my tendency is to let stuff have a lot of me. So when God impressed on my heart a way for me to promote shopping and make money of my own for the first time in 4 years, I was scared out of my skin. As soon as I said yes and submitted my application though, God gave me the disclaimer. NONE of my commission was going to be my money to spend. I would cover the cost of my samples and gas to get to and from shows, but every penny left was meant to help other people. Friends, that first check I ever received was over $400 and very tempting! It left my hands as quickly as it came into them though and the chains of money began to break around my heart. Making money, but not spending it became normal as 12 months went by and we never took my check and had fun with it. God didn't stop there though...the love of money goes far deeper than spending.

A few months ago, the poverty crisis really started weighing heavily on me and I delved back into researching the philosophy behind fair trade. My research un-earthed article upon article about consumerism and the way the global market is the key to ending poverty. Teaching people to work a trade and then paying them fairly for it is changing entire villages. Children are able to go to school, women are free to get out of prostitution, men regain respect for themselves and others, and the quality of the actual product rises! The consumer will be paying a higher price for something, but gaining a better product, thereby not needing to purchase the same quantity as before. With my husband's permission, I began adding a few things to my wardrobe and even found fair trade shoes and makeup! The quality blew me away and I was filled with passion to speak out about our need to change the way we shop in this country.

Along with my passion though, grew that tiny seed of what I have termed the "more disease". We see it everywhere from the toddler who mumbles "can I have another" with her mouth full of a cookie; to the mother who gets a full night's sleep while praying for another one tonight; The girl who loves her new shirt so much that she returns to the store to buy it in a few other colors; and the lover who tells his wife, he can't wait to enjoy her again. The constant need for more fully steals our ability to embrace the moment we have right now. This reality stopped me dead in my tracks as I was pinning fair trade outfit after fair trade outfit on pinterest last night. Although, I wasn't pining away for any of them, I was feeding the monster within that always thinks of more.

Jesus tells the people in Matthew 6:25, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"

While Jesus is encouraging people here not to be anxious, I think the statement encompasses obsession as well. Weight loss, fitness, healthy eating, clothing, anti-aging, and the like all point to an obsession we have with getting more and more and more. I see it in my daughters...and I see it in myself. God has placed a burden on my heart to do a fast from anything that leads me to want more. Beginning on February 13th (the beginning of lent), I am committing to fast from all shopping and pinning on pinterest. I am rallying my family and closest friends to keep me accountable to savoring the moment rather than thinking or talking about what's to come. My passion for Noonday is stronger than it has ever been before and I will continue to do trunk shows and speak out about fair trade. My heart however will be fasting from feeding the worm of desire that thrives on the more disease. God has given me a passion and a voice to speak out on this issue, but He needs to prune my heart first.  If you'd like to join me, let me know and we'll do this together and if you'd like to remember me in prayer, I'll love you bunches. If you are interested in changing the way you shop, leave your email address and I'll send you a list of awesome fair trade companies. Thanks for reading friends!

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