This is an unusual love story.
Let me tell you a story of my quest for the perfect chambray shirt.
It started a few years ago when I purchased a polka dot chambray shirt with pearl buttons from Old Navy. I mostly purchased it because it was polka dot and I thought it would be a versatile garment in my wardrobe. The polka dots, cute as they were, made this shirt difficult to pair with my brightly-patterned skirts and dresses. The style itself was decidedly too long for my tastes, and I found myself frequently passing it over in my closet.
A few months later, I came upon a short-sleeved light-blue chambray shirt at Kohls. This was definitely not too long and more versatile than polka dots, but I found that the short sleeves made it a strictly warm-weather top, which gave me less than half a year of wearing days. Not to mention, the length was on the short side, so I was constantly tugging at the hemline, wishing it to grow a couple extra inches.
While perusing the Target clearance racks, I saw a third chambray which I thought could fill the shirt-shaped void in my closet. This gray-blue shirt was long-sleeved, but had tabs to hold the rolled-up sleeve in place, should I decide to wear it on a warm day. After a few wears, I realized that the fabric was too stiff to be considered comfortable, and again, this top spent more lonely weeks inside my closet than on my person.
A few weeks ago, I was ruthlessly cleaning out my closet and decided to give away all three of my chambray shirts. I recognized by now that I disliked them all for various reasons, and only kept them out of a sense of obligation since I had spent good money on them.
Once my closet was purged of all chambrays, I made a short list of what I wanted in a chambray top:
– long-sleeved but with tabs and buttons to secure a rolled sleeve
– cute buttons
– not too long and not too short.
I added “perfect chambray shirt” to my mental shopping list. I was tired of buying shirts that just didn’t fit my expectations and were eventually rendered not worthy to be worn.
Merely two weeks after I had removed the three chambrays from my closet, I was at the mall and decided to swing into NY&Co, as I have been known to find great steals on their clearance racks. I usually skip the front racks, as they tend to hold the newest and most pricey items. However, a sale sign caught my eye, and I found myself at the front of the store, perusing a rack of long-sleeved button-down shirts. After ridding my closet of so many clothes over the past few weeks, I was very specific in my purchase choices. A lightweight chambray shirt caught my attention. Not wanting to add an unneeded piece to my wardrobe, I tried it on first.
It checked every box on my list and then some! The fabric was soft and stretchy; the buttons were a classy and fun silver; the sleeves had tabs for holding rolled sleeves; the blue was a perfect medium shade; the hem was a flattering length; and the best part was the little snap in between two notoriously-troublesome buttons to prevent gapping. Oh wait, the actual best part was that the price for this brand-new shirt was less than $10!
The outcome should be obvious – I purchased that chambray shirt. However, if I hadn’t first purged my closet of the three shirts that I owned and didn’t wear, and if I hadn’t thought through what I was looking for in a shirt, I probably never would’ve found or purchased this shirt.
I began this tale by telling you it was a love story. It is. I do truly love this shirt. In reflecting on my new top and how perfectly it fits into my closet now, I made some deeper realizations.
In our lives, we tend to fill our time and space with unnecessary things. When we are asked to volunteer or when we feel guilty about not exercising, we quickly excuse ourselves with “not enough time” or “I just can’t do one more thing.” These may be legitimate reasons, but more often, they are simply excuses.
“See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”Ephesians 5:15-16
Chose your actions strategically. Especially as an unmarried woman, I have realized that I tend to have more flexibility with my time and resources than a married woman would. For example, over the past year, I have dedicated many hours to teaching myself to cook and prepare various dishes from scratch. I would not have had time to do this if I continued to sit on the couch, “trying to get the most out of my monthly Netflix subscription.”
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…”Hebrews 12:1
Even those things that are not inherently wrong can derail and waylay us from pursuing the best things that God has for us. Analyze your time and the moments in your day. How do you spend them? Are there activities or time wasters that should be purged to make room for ministries or useful hobbies? Do you feel bogged down by possessions and obligations, that you could eliminate by cleaning out your own closet and simply declining extra commitments?
While we all know that real joy is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, you may be delighted to realize that relief from daily stress can come from purging the unnecessary and negative things from your life. When your life is free of earthly weights, you can more fully experience the Christian walk as well as more deeply enjoy time spent with friends and family.
I have read several books on this topic that you may find helpful. While some of the theology and beliefs are not in line with my own or with the Scriptures, the basic principles are applicable and worth considering. My recommendation would be to apply this article immediately by purging some wasted minutes from this upcoming week and instead investing that time in reading one of these books below.
The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo*
*please use discernment when reading this book, as it is a secular book, and it references Japanese culture & ideology that may seem peculiar or contrary to the American/Christian mindset.