We left off talking about gluttony. I had mentioned I’m trying to become someone who can freely give, and I do not do well with this when it comes to giving away things with sentimental value. After sorting through my heart and then my closet, I currently have a pile of 108 articles of nice clothing. Some of the clothing is a little older but is nice enough to still have a dollar value. Then, other brands are super popular out here, like my Free People clothing, some stuff made in the U.S., and some other amazing indie brands. I have been struggling with the idea of how to make a few bucks off of these valuable items.
I thought about bringing them to a few local consignment shops. The return may be worth it, but we also don’t have a car, so this idea seems way too heavy. Literally, these piles are so big that my arms would come down with serious arthritic pain before I even made it to the first bus stop with just one of the piles. I don’t have the time, patience or energy for this.
Then I looked at online consignment stores. There are so many different types of online consignment, and it seems like a better option given the fact we do not own vehicles. For a majority of the companies all I would have to do is print out a shipping label and send in all of my things. Some of the companies even pay up front! However, I still wasn’t sold on this idea.
I knew I wanted an option, but I also knew I didn’t want to donate these nice, gently used clothes to Goodwill.
Ding ding! The perfect idea hit me! I would set up a “consignment shop” type area in our garage sale this summer and sell these brands for what they are worth, and then I would donate the proceeds to the children’s home in Peru we’re going to be working at for the next several months. That was a decision I could feel good about!
This has been my plan for a week or so now, but then something came up. I was scrolling through my curly, red-headed friend’s Facebook page (actually looking for the article about gluttony she posted), and the following words caught my attention:
Dear World: Let’s stop giving our crap to the poor.
I tried to scroll past it, but of course, I had to read it.
Kristin Welch starts the article by pointing out a mentality that permeates our western culture:
The poor will be happy with our left-overs.
They don’t know any better.
They live in Africa or Honduras.
They don’t need the latest technology or the best brands like we do.
They will appreciate anything we give because something is better than nothing.
Of course, I had a moment instantly after reading this where I told myself, Sam, you don’t fit into that category as much some probably do. You’ve been downsizing for the past year. You already read Seven by Jen Hatmaker and had your world rocked. You only buy used/consigned clothing or fair trade, and you clearly haven’t been consumed with fancy things, like clothing brands and tech-savvy things like what she’s mentioning here.
And then I quickly snapped out of the self-comforting mode and looked down at my Macbook Pro. Then I glanced over at my Verizon smart phone, and then the gigantic pile of clothing on the rocking chair in my bedroom came to mind.
“It’s time to stop giving our crap to the poor,” Kristin said.
She said things like, “We say with our donation, ‘You are valuable.'”
And then she quoted Ann Voskamp, and I am now considering hauling this gigantic assortment of beautiful clothing over to the women’s safe house.
“We’re not giving what we’re called to give,
unless that giving affects how we live –
affects what we put on our plate and
where we make our home and
hang our hat and
what kind of threads we’ve got to hang on our back.
Surplus Giving is the leftover you can afford to give;
Sacrificial Giving is the love gift that changes how you live –
because the love of Christ has changed you.”
It doesn’t take a retreat or motivational speaker to change my mind in an instant. These were the words I needed to be reminded of. My giant pile of clothing consists of a bunch of thread woven together. That’s all it is: a pile of thread. God has been changing my heart over the past year (since I read Seven), and I wouldn’t take a thing back that I’ve changed. But there is a lot more progress I can make in this department.
So, I’m not sure if I’m going to drive this pile of thread over to the women’s safe house; or if I’m going to try to sell as much as I can in the garage sale, make some money for the children’s home, and then donate the rest to the women’s safe house. Both I can feel good about, though, because 1.) I can see this pile of clothes as they are – a pile of threads, 2.) I can say with the gift of these beautiful brands to a woman who has gone through domestic abuse, “You are valuable!”
Thank you curly, red-headed friend of mine with the great laugh.
Thank you Ann Voskamp and Kristin Welch.
Slowly I am becoming who I want to be.
And, by all means, please feel free to read Kristin’s full post here.