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Overcoming Wardrobe Entitlement

“I don’t have anything to wear!” 
You’ve heard the saying.  If you haven’t said it or thought it at least once then…well…let’s just say we probably don’t live on the same planet.  Personally, I’ve thought it often.  Make that very often…especially  after having two babies.  One, I no longer fit into my old “cute” clothes.  Two, I’ve had to wear maternity clothes for months and everyone knows that is NOT trendy.  Three, the clothes that do fit ALLLLL have holes in them or stains from baby spit-up…okay, not quite all but it sure feels that way.
 
I NEED new clothes.  
You ever feel like that?  Your closet’s stuffed full of clothes but none seem to go together or fit just right or are appropriate for the public eye.  You know the excuses.
Well today I decided it was time to hit my sense of clothing entitlement in the gut.  And what was the straw that broke the camel’s back? My daughter has begun to take notice of the clothing I wear and even comments that my stretched out shirts show too much or that my holey capris (made that way for fashion’s sake) show too much skin.  Let’s just say, if you are unsure as to whether your wardrobe is G-rated, just ask a 3-year old; they have no problem telling what they think.  All that to say, I need not only be thankful for what I have but also make sure what I have glorify’s God.
My closet after the big purge
Thus, today I began to overcome my sense of clothing entitlement by purging.   No, I didn’t begin by buying more trendy outfits but by getting rid of old clothing such as the holey capris and stretched out T’s to see what I really have that is useful.
Hats on the top shelf

 

Here’s my results:
1 swimsuit and cover-up
3 workout outfits (1 winter, 2 summer)
4 sets of pajamas (3 winter, 1 summer)
5 business outfits (2 summer, 3 winter)
6 dresses and shirt/skirt combos for church (2 summer, 2 winter, 2 any season)
8 everyday outfits (4 winter, 4 summer)
I also have 5 pairs of boots, 2 pairs of tennis shoes, 1 pair of flip-flops, 2 pairs of dressy sandals, 1 pair of dress shoes, and 5 hats.
Shoes organized–check.
God has provided my every need.
That’s 27 outfits and 11 pairs of shoes!  By many middle and upper class person’s standards that is not a lot but for this stay-at-home mom its enough.  Add in the fact that I usually do laundry twice a week and my wardrobe more than meets my needs.  God has provided me a covering.  Why do I complain?
Adding clothing dividers make it easy for me to find clothes each day.
I mean there have been times I have done nothing but complain to my husband about the current state of my depravity.  Yes, I said the “D” word…depravity.  There’s just something about the words entitlement and depravity that cause them to constantly go together.  When you don’t get what you feel entitled to you can feel deprived.  Deprived and unjustly so.

Do You Really Wear ALL of THAT?
So let’s put this all into some perspective.  The average American spends approximately $1700 on clothing a year and has approximately 27 pairs shoes in their closets.  In some of the world’s poorest countries including Liberia, Chad, and Zimbabwe they receive most of their clothing from donations brought into the country and are lucky if they have even 1 pair of shoes in their possession.  Wow.  Humbling isn’t it?  Yet God provides.  Shoot, if I had $1700 this year to spend on clothing I would have an AMAZINGLY expensive and completely unnecessary wardrobe.  I think I’d rather spend it on something else….
And what does God say about all this?  Let’s take a look:
 
“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? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:25-34
My conclusion: I am blessed.  I am provided for.  God has met my every need.  Do I still feel entitled to buying more clothing?  Not quite as much.  I mean if God sees fit to provide a way for me to get a jean skirt, some new exercise pants, or a new t-shirt, I would be ecstatic.  But if not, I will be fine.  And, now that I know exactly what I do have that God has provided for me, it almost makes me want to take better care of what He’s already given me so that I don’t waste or squander His precious gifts.  “Thank you God for providing for my every need.”
Want more inspiration on taming the tiger of wardrobe entitlement?  Check out these articles:
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19
 

 

Kathy

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Comments

  1. says

    Loved this post! It makes me want to go take stock in my closet. I know I have plenty, but sometimes the first step to realizing that is getting it organized so you can see what you have and what you really need.

    Thanks for sharing. Found you at Teach Me Tuesday

  2. says

    Great insight – I’ve been sloooowwwwly purging my closet but have also found it hard not to fill the space I’ve found! I’ll have to take your words (and organization!) to heart! …also, LOVE the way you add link party buttons at the bottom – neat, clean, still shows the buttons to appease the link party hostesses, but not all in your face about it. Will totes be trying this in the future!

    • says

      I know what you mean. Organizing my clothes by category instead of color has definitely helped. Now if I decide to get something new it will be to replace something not add to it.

  3. says

    Very thoughtful post! You know now what you have which is so helpful in planning ahead (and it is amazing how often that jeans skirt (or whatever) sometimes just falls into your hands!) Thanks so much for sharing on Busy Monday!

    • says

      That is so true Charlene. In fact, I received a jean skirt from my mom this last weekend that she has “outgrown.” How neat is that? It fits me perfect. God is indeed good. He knows our every need.

  4. says

    Hi Kathy! Love this. I am actually doing something similar right now and trying to wear EVERY article of clothing into closet instead if buying new clothes. I’m actually hosting a Closet Challenge linky party this Wednesday and I’d love for you to link up this post!

  5. says

    Kathy I am grateful to see that your post is not just about organising (great ideas btw) but about the values behind your decision to purge. I feel similar thinking that I can downsize because I seem to wear only the same favourites but hang onto the rest for some reason. When I pack for holidays I marvel that I feel so much better living with less clothing. Pointing out statistics is very sobering. The closet is next week’s challenge at ABFOL. Thanks for your words and verse inclusions – they will help me to decide what is purged and what stays.

  6. Erica says

    I’ve been going through my house cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things. I won’t tell you how many clothes I’ve gotten rid of especially after having baby #2 last April. I would like to ask though. How many outfits do you have for the kiddies? My clothing number has been dropping steadily the past few months but I am having a hard time getting rid of the girls clothes. I cannot seem to think of that “perfect number” as some days they wear one outfit a day and other day’s I’ve gone through 3 or 4 changes. (My girls are 3 and9 months) I realize this is an older post but any advice for this not easily organized Momma?
    Thank you.

    • Kathy Gossen says

      Erica, THAT is a good question. Actually I’m not sure that there is a perfect number. I used to hear 7 (one outfit per day) for practical things like onesies and sleep-n-plays and maybe a couple of dresses at this stage. But then again, it really is up to the kid. My girls rarely got their clothes dirty at this age so we didn’t need that much. However, now that they are older and playing outside and eating at the table…well that is definitely a different story. That said, I have written several posts on organizing kids clothes that you may want to check out; you can see them here and here. Hope that helps.

  7. Sharon says

    Ouch! Consider my toes stepped on. :D Love what you are saying, but I don’t feel depraved for enjoying God’s blessings. Don’t complain, just always be in a state of thanksgiving. God is more interested in your attitude than what is in your closet. I just have to many clothes because I just love to wear them and dress up. We don’t have to wear sackcloth…. But I will donate and share some of my hoard with my sisters, because we should always help the poor and donate to charity, which we always have and always will….. God bless you. Love to you my sister in Christ.

    • says

      And so you shouldn’t (feel depraved). It’s really not about the donating anyway–it’s about the heart and your attitude towards your clothes or other similar material possession. My “I deserve more” attitude was starting to take over my thoughts so this post was a dire need for my spiritual well-being or as I like to term–a little “heart repair.” You’re right, a constant state of thanksgiving has a lot to do with it! Have fun dressing up this week in the thankfulness of God!

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