Sunday, December 11, 2011

Are clothes a distraction? Thoughts on simple living.

My friend Natalie has been posting 'Finishing 2011 Strong' on Facebook. Today's reading (which must have taken her forever to type out) says so much about simple living and the things that have been on my mind. You can read these words of wisdom near the bottom of this entry.

 I have just finished reading 'The 100 Thing Challenge: How I got rid of almost everything, remade my life, and regained my soul' by Dave Bruno ( At the end of the book Dave gives the reader suggestions on how to create your own 100 Thing Challenge - and so I am having a go at his first suggestion: Choose seven complete outfits and section them off from your other clothes. Wear them for the next couple of weeks or more. He suggests this because most people are nervous about getting rid of clothes and he wants the reader to prove to themselves that they can 'dress comfortably and look dignified' on less and because 'clothes are a distraction'. You'll notice Natalie's bible verses have quite a bit to say about clothing.

I actually have this bizarre thought - and anyone who knows me will know just how bizarre it is - that I could get rid of all my many, many bright and much loved op-shop finds and just buy a few simple outfits. I wonder how many I would need...any thoughts?  This is like me telling people how much I would enjoy a silent retreat. That comment is always met with cynicism, because I love a chat. But what a relief it would be to do the opposite. (And I know I am suited to it because I have gone long periods without talking, and in company.) The same with clothes. I love colours and accessorising, but what would it feel like to let it go - to wear simple clothing and paired down accessories? (And anyway my funky glasses say it all these days!)

And make up and hair - what of them? I have never regretted shaving off my hair and letting it go grey, and I am always amused and somewhat pleased that people generally like it, and that some see it as an encouragement to do the same.  Today I bravely went to the shop with no make up on! Hah. It felt good. All I had on my face was my home made moisturiser. I have to confess it was only our little local shop. Can I do that down town? At work?

It will be a process - this simplifying, this paring back. In 2012 I am going to make this my focus. Here is Natalie's verses for today. I hope that something in this resonates with you as it did with me. Thanks Nat.

Scripture: Matthew 6:25-34 
MSG-25-26"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.— Make a list of your worries and concerns and how those are hindering your journey with God. Are there people or circumstances that need to be fully surrendered? Give each worry to God in prayer, asking Him to shoulder those burdens on your 

Christmas planning update:
In my last entry I mentioned that we are having a no gift giving Christmas day. We now have a little loop hole - re-gifting and making gifts is fine, and the kids are all in agreement. In fact our daughter is so against 'stuff' and 'clutter' that she has stipulated that even a re-gifted gift or a handmade gift must not become more 'stuff'. She says that she feels like she is already drowning in it. Her ideal gift is a consumable! That's easy. Her dad is making her a cheesecake and I am making a writing paper set decorated with potato prints. She's our youngest and a gift giver by nature so this is something that we feel we should do for her. Her brothers seem relieved to be let off the hook. I am really looking forward to our Christmas day, and our focus on Christ, and the gift of time that we will give one another!

Peace be within you this Christmas season.

Asta x


  1. Hi Asta, what an interesting read this is! Definitely something for me to ponder and look at putting into practice. xx

  2. Thank you Mamamia. That's a really encouraging comment!Asta x