I know, these were all over the place yesterday and you’re totally done with reading them but I need to share my Lent commitments. I’ve been inspired by Tearfund Rhythms’ (check them out. They’re awesome) campaign and also by finally and truthfully acknowledging the fact that I am out of control. So here goes:
My name’s Jo and I’m a consumer.
I love to shop. At Bluewater, on the high street, in cute little towns with quirky little shops, online – anywhere that I can spend money I do. I’m a sucker for anything pretty and love buying nice stuff for my home, cute clothes for the kids and little treats for people that I love. I love new things. I love seeing someone’s face light up because I’ve chosen just the right gift. I love spending money.
Although this isn’t necessarily evil in and of itself, for me it’s become a problem. I’ve lost sight of the line between need and want. I’ve convinced myself we could afford things that we really couldn’t. Things that a few years ago would have seen expensive, now seem reasonable. And more than this, I’ve made myself a hypocrite.
I’ve spent much of my working life talking about justice; Imploring others to make good choices; To live a life that’s good for our global neighbours; To love the poor. And I care about these things, really I do. I’ve made some gestures that I can use as illustrations – I bank ethically, wouldn’t touch Primark or Nestle with a barge pole and more but nothing that’s really hurt. Nothing that’s really cost me anything. And so now, I’m going to use this Lent period to try and break some really bad and costly habits.
For Lent, I am giving up non-essential spending. I will be allowed to buy groceries but that’s it. No clothes, no accessories, no makeup, no new toys or clothes for the kids, no pretty little things for my new house, no books, magazines, apps. Nothing. If I think there’s something that we need (eg. Huds changes school when we move and will need a couple of new uniform bits, birthday presents), I’ll chat it through with Steve, who will make the call and the purchase. I am also not allowed to make a list (even mental!) of the things I’m going to buy when Lent is over! I’ll spend this time figuring out a long term approach that matches both our income and my ethical aspirations.
My hope is that this will start me on a journey that helps me be the kind consumer that I aspire to be. That I’ll start seeing the true value of things again. That I’ll be able to identify the difference between need and want. That a treat will feel special. That I’ll be a good role model for the Tiny Taylors. That I’ll learn the art of ‘making do’. Most of all, I want to contribute more than I take out, to reduce my impact on our precious and ever-increasingly fragile environment and ensure that my spending honours the lives of those all around the world who make the stuff that I consume.
Truth be told, I’m a little bit terrified to press ‘publish’. I don’t want to be held accountable to these standards. But I need to. So I will *closes eyes and presses button*