Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Difference Project

I read about The Difference Project a couple months ago on The Blair Affairs where Jennifer has a great blog full of Godly encouragement and cute anecdotes about her life with her husband. She's in the middle of 9 months of no new clothes. When I first read about the project, I thought it was a great idea (especially since the book that inspired it was Radical by David Platt and I love the principles of that book) but I didn't really feel like throwing myself into it, to be honest.

Actually, for the past several months I have known that there was a desperate need for change in my finances. I have been carelessly spending money for so long, not putting much thought into where it's going and if I'm being faithful to God through my financial decisions.

While Jennifer knows that her weakness is in clothes, my weakness is in makeup. When I was working at Forever 21, shopping for clothes was definitely my biggest vice, but since I stopped working there, makeup has been an ultimate weakness. I've never been a girl who needs makeup, but it is/was so satisfying to me to buy new, pretty things. When I look back over the past 6 months, I'm honestly ashamed at how much of my money has essentially gone down the drain. Or in the air. Or on my skin only to be washed off.

Now, this isn't to say I've stopped wearing makeup. I love makeup and will continue to use the products I already own. I love the process of getting out of a shower with a fresh face and putting on a new look. I love to feel feminine and pretty, but I am no longer throwing my money away. It wasn't intentional, but I'm doing my own version of the Difference Project.

Part of this process is redirecting my money to better things. July is my first month sponsoring a child through Compassion International. Our business is sponsoring two, but I wanted to sponsor one personally with my own money, so I decided to make sure there is a place in my monthly budget for this beautiful girl to be taken care of. It's amazing how good it feels to give back, even in a small way.

It's also amazing to me how much of a difference it makes for my heart when I know I'm using the money and resources God has given me for things He loves. I'm not doing great, but I'm taking small steps of obedience to use the abundant blessings He has given me to serve others. Little things as simple as handing a $5 bill to the guy outside Harris Teeter asking for donations put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. Even small things like that make me feel closer to God, like I'm taking a deliberate step in His direction. It is beautiful and freeing to let go of the material possessions that have become soul-anchors.

It's been a month since I've bought new makeup or clothing with my own money (it was my birthday month so I did get mascara and some new clothes with a gift card), and I definitely want to keep it up. I know for the first time in a long time that God is pleased with my steps of faith and obedience. It's amazing. This decision to commit my daily act of managing money to Him and trusting that He will bless me when I use my resources for His glory is more heart-changing than any other; even more than making promises to read my bible more or pray more. I know that He is faithful and the blessings He pours out on me are truly enjoyed when they are given away.

[he] who lends his money to the poor without interest, who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. whoever does these things will never be shaken. {psalm 15.5}

whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. this too is meaningless. {ecclesiastes 5.10}

bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if i will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {malachi 3.10}

What are you doing with the resources God has blessed you with? I know that everyone has heard the statements about how rich we are in America. It's true, we are blessed. But I don't believe we have to feel bad because God has given us good things. However, we do need to use those good things for the good of others. Are you using your money wisely? If you truly don't feel that you have money to spare, are you serving those in need some other way? Is there time you can give for someone who just needs to be loved? I know I'm not the best, but I know that God is moving in my heart to serve and love others using the blessings He has given me.

If you're looking for inspiration and advice on money check these out:

+ Jennifer's initial post on The Difference Project

+ J.Money keeps a blog all about budgeting. He runs you through his own personal financial decisions and helps lay out new methods to budget and keep track of your money in a way that doesn't even seem possible to me. The amount of detail he goes into is impressive. Check it out at www.budgetsaresexy.com :)

+ Lauren's post two years ago about budgeting, giving and organization. In my mind, Lauren is the queen of taking a thousand tiny, complex principles and rolling them out into one well-written blog that cuts to the heart of the issue. Here, she gives some helpful websites and tips to keep it together.


  1. This is a wonderful project. Good for you. I really feel inspired by this. Thank you for your big heart :)

  2. Oh, and I'm your newest follower!

  3. I just got so excited as I was catching up on your blog!!!! One month! That is amazing. It's been neat to see how much this project has done my heart good. When I struggle, God reminds me of why I am doing this...He reminds me of those who need way more than I do. I am so excited to see how this goes!

    Also, I actually have a question for you! Email me at jenchristine88@gmail.com when you get a chance!

  4. This is an awesome project. I've actually been doing something similar, except with clothing for a while (but I didn't know others were doing the same). Love your blog (and thanks for the comment on mine)!

  5. So so so true! Such a great project, and amazing way to live life! xoxo