I recently came across the phrase "stuff-envy" in a First5 app devotional on Ecclesiastes 6. In the lesson titled Roving Appetite Recovery, Wendy Pope discussed how, "even as an adult [she] struggled with an appetite for what others had." She reminded readers that, "obsessing over things we desire robs us of the joy of God's blessings." 

If you've been a follower of mine for a while, you know that the concept of"stuff-envy" is something with which I've really struggled. I've considered shutting down Abbylish on multiple occasions mostly due to the moral quandary of promoting materialism when it's something that can so consume my own life. 

While it seems so obvious and easy to just find satisfaction in God rather than things, it's not always so simple to make that mind shift. So today, I'm sharing five practical ways to avoid "stuff-envy" and to help correct a "roving appetite" from the inside out. These are just some of the applications that I've put into place in my own life over the past few years that I've found to be successful and beneficial. 

1. Get off social media

This is obviously hard for me to recommend because I don't want to lose my online friends and followers. But, I know first hand how cleansing an extended break from social media can be. 

It's amazing how much you stop caring about what everybody else is doing when you just don't see it 24/7. You can't have FOMO if you don't even know it's happening in the first place! I encourage you to take a social media hiatus every so often, whether for a week, a month, or even longer and see how it makes you feel. I guarantee you won't regret scrolling the internet less

2. Do NOT create more storage

Another reason we can't have kids any time soon is that I'm using every square inch of storage space in our  home (including both spare bedrooms and closets) for my own crap. Greg and I have talked about opening up access to our attic, but honestly, our current lack of storage space deters me from buying a ton of things I don't need. Sometimes more space = more things to fill it.

Do I want a Christmas tree in every room of the house, each with their own holly jolly theme? Of course! But I don't have the room to store them, and so I'm forced to recognize the fact that said Christmas trees aren't a need and that I can even *happily* live without them. 

3. Two Week Rule 

My mom once told me that if you didn't wear something within two weeks of purchasing it, return it. Not sure where she first heard that advice, but it's some of the truest in my life. If you're not dying to wear it the next day after buying it, you will most likely lose interest. That's why I have a love/hate relationship with events like the Nordstrom Sale. You get yourself all hyped up for overpriced sweaters and boots in JULY, months before you can even wear them!

Basically, the Two Week Rule helps you decipher if the stuff you're envying will actually serve you in some way. It helped me realize that I don't need to buy any business-type clothes. I can appreciate a structured blazer or a pencil skirt, but I know that I'm rarely ever going to find myself in a time or place where I will need those pieces. So, while I may be tempted to buy them, when I really stop and think about it, I know I don't need them. Same with "church dresses." I grew up attending a more traditional "Sunday best" church where I wore pretty dresses every single week. Now, Greg and I attend a gathering with a more casual vibe, so the formal dresses just aren't really a necessity in my closet anymore. I'm still so attracted to pretty frocks, but I have now realized that my money is better spent elsewhere. 

4. Refresh > Hoarding

Another rule I've adopted in life is: if you do get something new, get rid of something old. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and occasionally declutter areas of your home. As hokey as it sounds, I love her idea of "thanking" the items for serving you when they did and sending them on to a new life! Try not to feel like you're losing something by donating or selling old items. Consider the fact they're going to get much more use from a new owner than they will by sitting in storage at your house. 

5. PRAY!!

I guess I should have listed this as number one, because it really should be your first line of defense. Pray for God to fill your heart with love for Him instead of things. Ask Him for wisdom and strength to overcome the struggle of "stuff-envy." And thank Him for the many blessings in your life. I've often found that when you stop and focus on all of the things, experiences, and relationships God has already blessed you with, those things that you seemingly don't have start to lose their importance. 

If you struggle with "stuff-envy"like I do, I hope these suggestions are helpful. Please know that I don't believe consumerism, shopping, or even materialism to be inherently evil things. However, when not kept in check in my own life, they can grow into sinful idols that rob me of the abundant life that Jesus came to give me.  

Let me know if you have any other suggestions to keeping "stuff-envy" at bay. Prayers for all of you who may be working on this with me!