Contentment in Consumerism World

What Boots Taught Me about Comparison, Contentment, and Identity

One of the main themes I hope to speak into through this blog is the root, or “heart reasons” behind our spending habits. When we were living on a tight budget to pay off our loans, Drew and I each had $20/month for individual “fun money.” That doesn’t go very far when you think about getting coffee with a friend, dinner, wanting a new top, etc.

Blog: boots

We primarily bought new clothes when we had a “need” vs. a “want.” When I needed a coat or work shoes, these types of scenarios. The same principle of not buying many “wants” applied to home decorations, furniture, entertainment, etc. The result of this was frequent thoughts of comparison and/or feeling insecure. I’d feel frumpy if I was wearing the same thing a lot or something felt a little dated.

By God’s grace, I found by praying through the root cause of my feelings (i.e. unhealthy comparison, placing my identity in things or acceptance, etc.), I’d often come away refreshed and no longer desiring the “want” that left me feeling like “woe is me.”

This process went something like this:

  • I’d compare my outfit to someone else and feel frumpy or “less than”
  • I’d immediately feel sorry for myself or want to rush to the store to fix the emotion
  • When I’d pray through the scenario, by God’s grace, I’d feel refreshed and realize my outfit was just fine; the root was comparison and it was stealing my joy
  • Suddenly I cared a lot less about whatever it was that took over my mind and emotions moments ago


There’s a difference in truly “needing” to replace something that’s worn out, and just a fleeting emotion that makes you feel like you must replace it. Most the time mine was the latter.

My hope in this blog is to encourage us to fight for contentment. To take our fleeting thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. It can be challenging to know how to take each thought obedient to Christ. After all, where in the Bible does it say how and when to shop, right? But when we slow down, pray through the root/heart cause of our emotions, and remind ourselves of biblical truth, I think this allows us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-6).

I can say 9 times out of 10, my thoughts were fleeting and due to unhealthy comparison.


To provide a personal example, I’ll share my “boot story.”

Let’s walk down memory lane to Christmas, 2014. I actually needed a pair of boots and had my eyes on a pair of dark brown, combat style boots.  Our family’s are very generous gift-givers, so I waited for Christmas to roll around to get them. After all, my $20/month wouldn’t go far when buying good quality boots. I received a gift card that covered the cost of the boots and was super excited to wear my new shoes. They were all leather and would probably last several more years.

Fast forward to Christmas 2015. This year I had my eye on the new booties that everyone was wearing: light-brown, cute ankle boots. The problem was my other boots were in great shape. All of a sudden, I was focused on the new style and discontent.

Long story short, God helped we pray through the root causes of my heart and pursue contentment and gratitude for what I had. By the time Christmas came around and I had gift cards, I no longer desired the other boots. They would have been a nice treat, but I was kind of “over it” by Christmas.

In practical ways, I knew there would be a different style out the next year, and the next. Once my heart was in a better place, I don’t think it would’ve been wrong for me to buy the booties, I just didn’t really desire them anymore. My other boots also served as a “heart cleanser” because I was reminded each time I wore them of how much I have to be grateful for, especially in light of all the needs around me. Lastly, I actually love my boots. They’re totally me (when I’m content)!

Although our budget isn’t as tight, today, the lessons from this story still apply. Do I race to the store every time someone at work has a nice outfit? When my shoes don’t feel “enough”? When I visit someone else’s home and suddenly I’m discontent with my own?

If I take these thoughts captive, more often than not, I’m content with where I am and what I have. I do refresh my wardrobe and we do decorate our home, but I think it’s done in a much healthier fashion (no pun intended) when my identity is in Christ and not opinions of others.

Wherever you are in your finances, I hope this post encourages and gives you ammo to fight the battles of your heart and mind. I’m so grateful for the season of a tight budget, as it taught me to appreciate what I have and realize we really don’t need much to be content.


#WhereYourTreasureIs #ThereWillYourHeartBeAlso


OK, enough hashtag shenanigans.


Peace and love!



Contentment in Consumerism World

Benefits of Living Debt Free

It’s been 8 months since Drew and I made our last loan payment. I can’t tell you how refreshing it’s been to keep roughly $2,500/month vs. paying it towards loans. We still joke around and ask each other, “how much do we owe this month?” and then respond “ZERO!!!!”

But we made “sacrifices” to get here.    Benefits of Being Debt Free, blog

For almost 3 years we barely ate out, had minimal decorations for our home, and bought basic groceries. Snacks and desserts were treats, we ate lots of spaghetti, and bought the most affordable meats—lots and lots of chicken! If you were a guest in our home we’d offer you “water or water.” 😉

No doubt we had all we needed, and we didn’t go as far as to only eat rice and beans like Dave Ramsey references, so all and all we had a lot to be grateful for. Nonetheless, we were still making sacrifices.

Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

There are so many benefits in being debt-free. By God’s grace, we’ve been able to build our savings and start investing in retirement and mutual funds.

Sidenote: we chose to put all our extra money towards loans and put off investing/retirement. We took this strategy since we were losing about 6% in interest, and we wanted to focus one one thing at a time -paying off debt, than investing.

Having financial margin has reduced stress and provided options. Like I mentioned in a previous post, Drew was able to quit his full-time job for a year to pursue a career change. We have a buffer if the economy crashes or we have a significant unexpected expense.

Ultimately, our trust and security are in Christ alone. We know that we could lose everything of earthly value today, or God could clearly lead us to give it all away. Outside of scenarios like this, I think it’s wise to have financial margin and savings for retirement, if possible.

So without getting into the weeds of our strategy, I want to encourage you with yours.

I want to encourage you that making some extreme decisions, and perhaps living a little different than the trend of our culture, is totally worth it!

What vehicle, house, new outfit, or living room set is worth being a slave to debt? What’s worth the stress that being financially burdened brings? Would you rather make some tough sacrifices now, or continue living strapped?

But…our culture tells us that if we want something, we deserve it.

Think of all the advertisements. How about the commercial this Christmas that showed one neighbor buying the “lame” snowman while the other bought the new truck. Or Verizon, “Didn’t get what you wanted this Christmas?” “There’s still time to get the new iPhone” (paraphrased).

We live in a world where billions of dollars in marketing are spent each year to make us feel like we need more to make us happy. We have to be aware of this and be ok living a bit differently.

So, what actions can you start taking, today?

Perhaps it’s selling a car and sharing with your spouse. Downsizing your home. Wearing what you have and pursuing contentment. Eating out less, and grocery shopping with a strategy and budget.

All of this sounds awful, right? But I can tell you it really wasn’t that bad. When it’s a choice to cut back in pursuit of a preferred future, it can be invigorating! It’s all about shifting your perspective.

“But I want to enjoy my life…”

You may be thinking you’ll miss out on life. We found ways to have fun on our budget, and I don’t think we missed out on anything of significance. Like I said, Drew was able to quit his job, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy life without spending a lot of money, and now we have plenty of cushion for fun.

I have no regrets!

A few closing tips:

If you start changing your spending habits, I recommend viewing your decisions as an opportunity to share with others why you’re living differently rather than feeling embarrassed by your frugal lifestyle. I think you’ll be surprised with how many people will feel encouraged to do the same, as if they wouldn’t be alone if they stepped out of the norm, too.

If you make some intentional choices to pay off debt, it’s so important to renew your mind often and remember why you’re choosing to do this. Between wanting to purchase something, comparison to others, and consumerism, it can be tough. But the battle is worth it!

Ok, ok, one more thought: there’s GRACE in all of the above. Think of ways you can start managing your finances better, and find what works for you.

That’s all for now, folks!

Comment with any questions, and start following for future posts (right-hand side of page)!

❤ Em

Contentment in Consumerism World

Engagement Ring: Pursuing Contentment and Perspective

Why I Only Wear an Engagement Ring:

Blog-engagement ringMany people think I’m still engaged since I don’t wear (or own) a wedding band. This wasn’t planned, but something I intentionally chose after we got engaged.

Don’t get scared off…keep reading… I promise it’s a balanced perspective. 🙂

History of the Wedding Band and Perspective:

Before Drew proposed, I was learning a lot about margin (time, finances, possessions, etc.) and recently watched Blood Diamond. This is a movie based on true events of laborers in Africa being forced to find diamonds, a tragedy still going on today. I started thinking through the original meaning of a wedding band versus the focus and pressure our culture puts on finding the “perfect” (and often very expensive) ring.

I can picture the first wedding band now. I envision someone tying a piece of thread together or having the goldsmith create a beautiful wedding band out of metal.

Photo Cred: Met Museum of Art for far right image. This is from the 6th and 7th century…glad this didn’t stick!

While I love the meaning of showing the world you’re married, I don’t like how our society has taken the idea and run with it. Making a soon to be groom feel like the weight of his bride’s answer depends on the size of the diamond.

To support my point, check out these interesting facts about wedding bands:

  • The history of a wedding band dates back about 5,000 years ago and were often made from reeds or leather.
  • The tradition of a diamond engagement ring began in the 1400s.
  • Diamond engagement rings weren’t the norm in the US until ~1940 when De Beers created “Diamond is Forever” campaign to push the sale of diamond engagement rings.
  • De Beers is a leading company in the diamond industry (of course!).

I found these interesting facts from With These Rings and Today I Found Out.

Fight Comparison and Pressure:

I love beautiful engagement and wedding rings, I just think we have to mindful of the culture we’re in and to push back against the temptation to get caught up in comparison, spending more than we can afford, and often lusting after something because we feel like we’re “supposed” to have something.

I think it’s helpful to be aware of the original meaning of the wedding band, the purpose of marriage, and push back against the pressure placed on us. We should focus on who we’re marrying and the marriage we aim to build.

What’s Important to You (not other opinions):

I also think it’s good to consider who you are and what’s important to you. For me, my wedding ring is the only piece of real jewelry I wear or desire. My ring is simple, elegant, and I couldn’t imagine a better fit for my taste. I know many women who have a set and just wear their wedding band for the same reason. I don’t like expensive accessories (sunglasses, earrings, etc.) because fear of losing them adds stress. This also matches my general taste and personality. If I’m not working, I’m typically in Toms, jeans, and a v-neck.

On the other hand, I know women who really appreciate diamond earrings and other special pieces. Maybe their ring looks different than mine because it’s something they really appreciate. Some of my favorite women love dressing up and have a greater appreciation for jewelry (and you won’t catch them in Toms 😉 ).

So I’m not saying one size fits all here (no pun intended!), just giving another angle to view this topic through.

Can You Afford It?

And remember, apart from all the preferences, the question of CAN YOU AFFORD IT is key. Maybe you would appreciate something outside of your budget but need to wait until you and your husband can save for it. The wait is worth it! You’ll never hear that at the jewelry counter!

Does the Decision Honor God:

I’m still working through how we make expensive purchases in light of so many needs around us but, as a quick point here, I think we should always pray and ask God for perspective and wisdom in how we spend His resources. What’s the motives in our heart?

That’s a Wrap:

So, why do I only wear the engagement ring as my wedding band? For me, personally, I love the ring Drew gave me and don’t want to change it. He had it made using the diamond from his mom’s engagement ring and had a setting designed especially for me. I truly like it better without the wedding band that would go with it. I know if I got the band it’d only be out of pressure from what you’re “supposed to do” and not something I desire. So, unless it becomes something important to me and/or Drew (and assuming we could afford it), I love the ring pictured above.
I hope my story provides a different angle than what we’re constantly hearing around us. The point isn’t to avoid having a nice ring set, but to just ask important questions that bring perspective. What’s the meaning of a wedding band? Are you being a good steward of the resources God’s given you? Are we caught up in comparison and pressure of others and/or our culture? Who are you and what’s important to you?

I hope this post encourages you wherever you are in your “ring journey,” today! This concept can be applied to so many other things, as well.

…and I didn’t even get going on the wedding industry…I’ll save that for another post 😉