Many years ago I received a (now defunct) magazine for Christian women in which the female editor frequently encouraged us ladies to ask ourselves, “What do I have in my hand?” The idea was to be creative with what we had rather than feeling that we had to buy something new, or even new supplies to make something. While the magazine went down a sad road and eventually disappeared (as far as I know), the question stayed with me. I still often ask myself, “What do I have in my hand?”
Honestly, I don’t get out much. It’s not that I can’t; it’s just more practical not to. I don’t know when I’d have the time to get out more. And I love staying home. Going out with four small children is hard, and in this day and time, especially in an urban setting, a little dangerous. Also, it’s cheaper. So I’m home a lot. Consequently, I frequently find that I won’t be going to the store for a few more days, but I have a need or want at the moment. Maybe it’s a meal; maybe it’s a craft I want to make. Maybe I need a gift for someone, or a costume for my kids. Asking, “What do I have in my hand?” has saved me money—probably a lot of money.
I’ve always thought that I wasn’t a very creative person, but I find that the more I have to be, the more I am. Necessity is the mother of invention, you know. I also get wonderful, inspiring ideas from other bloggers. They have no idea.
Last year (or maybe longer ago than that…) a group of people around the nation learned to ask this question in a greater way than ever before. They joined a movement called Compact, committing to buy nothing new for one year, except for what they needed to live, like food. As I understand it, it wasn’t against the rules to shop for something you need, like a coat from Goodwill, the goal was just not to buy anything new. Each had different reasons–paying off student loans, for example.
Imagine the money you would save if you didn’t buy anything new for one year. While I don’t see my family going to that extreme any time soon, I admire Compact members and their example inspires me to waste less and ask, “What do I have in my hand?” In this way, I can help my family and steward well God’s gifts to me.