more thoughts on the uniform project

I took a little time to reflect on my time with the Uniform Project and wearing one dress for 30 days. Here are my thoughts, and you can read more about Amy’s journey at amyseiffert.com

My final week with the Uniform Project was a little rough to be honest. It was finals week. I was holed up in my office for days on end. I was exhausted, staying up until the wee hours of the morning and then crashing until the sun peaked in my windows. Coming up with unique and fun outfits for my dress was the last thing on my mind. At least, when I did think about it it was more of a burden than not. I even resorted to wearing my dress over my sweats one day….and my sweats don’t even match…needless to say (or maybe it’s needed?) I did not leave the house that day! But when Wednesday finally arrived, my first day to wear whatever I wanted in the whole wide world…okay, in my whole wide closet, the result in my heart was rather anti-climactic. My regular clothes felt just as ho-hum as the pink dress I had been wedded to for 30 days. Perhaps it was because I was still finishing my finals, but I’m not entirely convinced. I think part of it is that we think freedom equates with happiness. That to be able to choose will always make us happy…to choose what to eat, what to wear, what job to have, where to live, what faith to follow, what type of government to live under. But the Lord wants us to be content…happiness is not always the goal.

I think of Paul, writing to the Philippians in chapter 4, v. 12:
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

The NIV puts it this way:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I think my heart can be content in a variety of circumstances and under constraints it is never required to experience. Wearing one dress for a month certainly is not much of a “need.” But it has uncovered my unconscious belief that more clothes to choose from, new things, whatever, will bring me happiness. But Paul knew the secret…contentment comes from God alone.

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i made it!

“made what?” you say…well, that’s fair. i certainly can’t expect you to be in my loop if i never blog about it!

two things actually. ONE: i completed my month with the UNIFORM PROJECT on tuesday. and TWO: i successfully completed my first semester of graduate school at about 1am today. taken together, this is cause for celebration!

first, the UNIFORM PROJECT:

i successfully made it through one month of wearing the same dress every day. yup. you can read about the project here: http://wp.me/pWkTj-Z. i joined my friend amy seiffert on her 6 month journey to simplify her wardrobe and innovatively raise awareness about and money for the DAUGHTER PROJECT…a group who seek to free young girls and boys from sex trafficking right here in ohio. unfortunately, the toledo area is one of the top three cities in the nation for sex trafficking, partly because it is home to the junction of the turnpike and I-75. we want to help them in their mission to free these girls and boys, restore their lives with beauty and grace, and show them God’s love and care for them. i’m honored to join my friend in this mission.

one of the greatest lessons from the uniform project (and totally unrelated to its purpose) is how much you can get away with socially. having decided to wait until someone asked me about the dress, it took until day 4 for my firend Hannah (who sees me daily) to ask “Is there a reason you’re wearing that dress every day?” but no one else ever asked me after that. nope. not even one.  in a department of social scientists, not a single person asked. do people think i’m just that weird? or did they really not notice? i’m going to go with the latter. and i think that’s fair, because some of my trendy oxford friends were completely oblivious until i pointed it out to them. conclusion: i could do much weirder things and i guarantee i will not end up on what not to wear.

this leads me to my next point. if i am able to come up with a unique outfit every single day for 30 days and incorporate a pink dress into the outfit without looking horrendous, what does that say about the amount of clothes i own? i can certainly live with less and forego buying new things for quite some time (which is good, because i’m a grad student on a budget. as long as i get some new underwear before i graduate…)

so what does it mean to give, and to give sacrificially to a cause, a church, a child? matt and i have been thinking about that a lot lately as we have limited resources but want to be involved in the work God is doing in our community and around the world. looking for places to trim our budget (partly in order to provide for ourselves…not all of our motives are others-focused…although being responsible allows us to give more freely), i have come to view coffee, even the bottom-shelf-store-brand a luxury. i am reminded of a guy i once read about on the New York Times who said he surely wouldn’t be using his food stamps for luxuries like coffee but instead chooses simple foods to nourish his family. i wonder what it looks like to choose sacrifice as a believer in christ, foregoing self-indulgence and guilty pleasure so that the gospel might go forward to more people than we ever imagined.

but the LORD longs to give good gifts to his children, lavishly blessing them. this month, i was so blessed, thinking daily about my friend and her dress adventures, texting photos of outfits, and sharing about this cause.

here are some of my best outfits. you can give by going to: thedaugtherproject.org under donate.

more pics to come soon…