This post has been a long time coming. Here we are dipping into the month of May. Wait. Almost halfway through May! I had to pull out a calendar and count the weeks. I haven’t been posting about Use Whatcha Got. Of course, I could present to you these excuses:
“I’ve been out sick.”
“I’ve been out of the country.”
“I’ve been busy writing about other stuff.”
And these would all be true.
But the truth is: I broke down and bought a skirt.
I first set eyes on the skirt back in November. I went shopping with my sister in law, Esther, when she came in town. We were wandering around the Gap. I was working my way through the clearance rack and came across this fantastic, super soft, black, NO IRONING NEEDED maxi skirt. Pull it up and it becomes a dress. Stretchy, comfy. Perfect for traveling. Perfect for dressing up and dressing down. Just exactly what I had been looking for. When the salesperson rang it up at the cash register, it was discovered that the skirt had been wrongly placed in the clearance rack. It rang up at full price. I just couldn’t do it. The grey one, exactly the same but two sizes too big, was half off. So I said no.
I returned home and instantly regretted not picking it up. I mentioned it to Darrin. He, of course, said, “You should go get it.” Weeks later when I was back in the mall Christmas shopping, I looked for the skirt but it was gone. I looked online. It was out of stock. The skirt was the one thing I wanted for Christmas, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, at any store.
Fast forward to two weeks before we left for Central Asia. I had been thinking about how I still wished I would have picked up the black skirt because it would have been the perfect travel skirt. I opened up my computer and for some reason (truly I’m not sure how it happened!) my browser window opened up to the Gap online store. And there in bold letters across the top “Anything ordered today online 30% off. Use code: blah blah.” I clicked to find the black skirt I had wanted. It was in stock, in my size.
Oh the tension.
My thought process went something like this:
“Oh. The skirt. I really want the skirt. But I’m committed to Use Whatcha Got. What to do? What. To. Do?”
Drumming my fingers on my chin, I thought, “Well, I could pull another “it’s a gift from Leila.”
See, over a year ago Leila and I found ourselves (truly I’m not sure how it happened!) in the Kate Spade outlet store. We both fell in love with this iPhone case.
We looked at the phone case longingly and both said, “Love. Looovvve. Even though it’s on sale, I just can’t get it.” We nodded in agreement. Then sighed. Then I’m not sure if it was her or me, but one of us said, “Wait. I can’t get it for me. But, I could get it for you.”
“And I could get it for you!!”
We smiled big. So satisfied with our brilliance. The girls working behind the counters thought we were brilliant, too.
We floated out of the store matchy, matchy with our iPhone cases to each other, from each other.
So, I knew Leila would be more than happy to buy the skirt for me, if I asked her.
Then I thought, “Surely this is a GOD THING. I mean, I don’t even know how the browser opened up to the Gap Online. And a coupon for just that day. Thirty percent off? It must be a sign…”
Before I could change my mind, I ordered it online in time for the trip.
The package arrived and remained unopened for several days.
Oh the tension.
Finally I ripped open the packaging. Yes. Yes. No doubt about it. The skirt was exactly perfect.
I felt angst. Back and forth, back and forth, between delight and guilt.
“What will Kimberly and the other Use Whatcha Gotters think? What will Julia think?”
Then came a long train of justification and rationalization attempts.
“I’ve gone almost five months without buying a single piece of clothing. One skirt. C’mon. What’s the big deal?”
“It’s not like I’m hurting anyone by buying a skirt. It’s not like it’s SIN or something serious like that.”
“I still have another EIGHT months ahead where I won’t be buying anything.”
“I’m sure I could find 5,000 people who have bought much more than one skirt since the beginning of the calendar year. I’m actually pretty impressed with myself to have gone so long.”
And on and on.
In the end, I realized I have the ability to twist things any way I want to make a situation look better than it really is. I can compare to others, I can promise away future actions, I can minimize, make excuses, I can find loop holes. I can flat out give up. I can do all sorts of things to try and make myself look better than I truly am. But all of the justification, rationalization is exhausting.
And once again I find the Bible to be true. Rather than getting tied up in knots while trying to conjure up loop holes, I can implement what I have tried to do in other scenarios and simply confess.
The word confess is made up of two greek words: homo and logeo.
Homo means “the same.” Logeo means “to say.”
Confess means to say the same. No excuses, “but’s,” rationalizations, explanations. It means bringing out what was hidden into the light.
I blew it. I didn’t make it flawlessly through Use Whatcha Got. I bought a skirt (and full disclosure, bought a scarf, ring and t-shirt in Central Asia–each had significance and meaning and were tangible reminders of a trip I never want to forget).
And though I don’t think the purchase fits in the “sin” category, I think the parallels to confession when we sin are important to note.
None of us will make it through life flawlessly. We blow it all of the time. How this underscores my need, our need, for Jesus’ offering of forgiveness “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10-12 *the whole chapter is crammed with great truths). By “saying the same” about our sin; first that it is sin and second that it is forgiven, brings about healing, restoration and an ability to walk in freedom. The first step is sometimes the hardest. Admitting we have blown it requires a person to swallow their pride.
Some of you who are strictly adhering to Use Whatcha Got, may be feeling betrayal. If that word is too dramatic, then perhaps disappointed is more fitting. Those feelings are completely understandable. I am sorry for breaking from our pact. Please know I am back and seeking to finish the next eight months following UWG. Maybe not perfectly, but I will not give up.
We are all in process. And in life I hope to be one who, after blowing it, comes first to my heavenly Father and brings my sin and shortcomings and then brings those failures into the light in safe relationships where I can experience healing and restoration. (James 5:16)
Confession. Forgiveness. Restoration. Freedom.
Thanks for taking the time to read. I’d love to hear how UWG has been going in your life.