caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

A Blinged Life

I am low maintenance.

Before you spit the coffee from your mouth, let me explain.

I have never been a fussy, girly-girl. I am what you’d call a faithful jeans a t-shirt type. And, no, not a cute, form fitting t-shirt with blingy butt jeans and Toms. I mean, like a real t-shirt and whatevercurrentlyfits jeans. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the girly girls. I have had my moments and phases as an adult like when I was skinnier that I liked to coorrdinate jewelry and buy trendy clothes. Aside from Jesus. boots and leggings darn near changed my life. But, overall, that’s not me.

But, don worry, this isn’t me giving fashion tips. That’ll be the day Satan is chillin’ in an igloo.  But, that isn’t the point of this blog.

The other day, I was faithfully cheering on The San Franscisco Giants (my son’s little league team, obviously…Go Rangers!) and I glanced over at a fellow Mom at the baseball field. She was, but sheer first impression, probably not a low maintenance fuss-free, jeans and t-shirt type. This was my initial assumption based on the attire she chose to wear to the baseball game. Her makeup, hair, accessories, and, howshallIsay, self improvements to her body all suggested she was tipping the scale more toward the higher maintence type. At least, with her outward appearance. I don’t know the girl. And this is no judgment on her character specifically. But, this blog is not about her. In fact, this blog is not about any one person individually. Instead, it is about all of us. Each of us. Ok, just let me explain.

I live in an area where I am constantly surrounded by people who are lifetime members of her “Takes Me an Hour to Get Myself Ready for a Baseball Game” club. And if I’d ever owned an eyelash curler, I couldn’t throw it ten feet without hitting three or four chicks just like her. It is my constant surroundings. In fact, it describes some of my dearest friends. So, that ‘type’ of chick isn’t what caught my eye.

It was her boots that could my eye.

Take a look for yourself.

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My instantaeous mental thought was Oh, look how cute for her!

Quickly followed by some assortment of –

Oh Jesus, I’m sorry. 

I hope she didn’t pay $150 to bling out your cross.

Is that the point? Are we supposed to be lovin’ our blinged out Christian life?

Well, yes, of course, Jesus wants us to love the life He’s given us. But, oh how I feel certain we are off course for why we are supposed to love life.

This chick at the baseball game could very well have a completely sold-out heart for Jesus; serving Him faithfully, reading His Word daily, giving to those in need generously. Just because she had blinged out Jesus boots doesn’t mean she is superficial. Please hear me. It’s simply broken my heart since I saw her, realizing that most of us really are so superficial with our faith. We are too busy blinging our the cross, we rarely spend time kneeling before it. The current American Christian culture has taken His idea of lovin’ life and exchanged it for a golden version shaped like a blinged out calf.

He didn’t die so our IRA accounts were secure.

He didn’t die so our kids could attend an exclusive Christian school and not have to be around those public school kids.

He didn’t die so we could feel happy about our recent re-model to the kid’s floor of the house.

He didn’t die for any of this material crap.

He died for people. Real, live people. Hurting people. Poor people; both materially poor and emotionally poor. He died for some who have much. And, for some who appear to have little, but inwardly have so much more.

I can’t help but wonder if He is well pleased with the state of our American church. I’m lying. I know He ain’t pleased. I am surrounded by wealthy churches. Those with coffee bars inside and pastors who live in million dollar homes. People arrive at church in their luxury SUV’s, adorned in their exclusive clothing, carrying their expensive hand bags. Some of them love Jesus fiercely and give money to His people happily. Others have been convinced all they have to do is look the part, say a prayer, and then they get to live out the rest of their days “lovin’ life”.

We have missed the point so badly in my world. Whether we admit it or not, we put appearance before authenticity. We put charisma before character. We choose trends over transformations. And, all the while, if our church drops $500K on an upgrade, we agree to it, after all, the lobby is looking a bit outdated.

Shame on us.

Forgive us, Jesus.

Forgive us for being so caught up in it all here.

Forgive us for not looking ANY different than the world.

Forgive us, please Father, for misleading other believers into what the Christian life is supposed to be about.

It’s about Jesus.

And Jesus wasn’t about wealth. He was about the poor.

Jesus wasn’t about fame and fortune. He was about humility and generosity.

Jesus wasn’t about petting the egos of the saved. He was about seeking out and saving the lost.

Jesus wasn’t concerned about His people’s happiness. He was all about their holiness.

Ugh, friend. My heart is heavy. Maybe it’s because I’ve fasted  lately and only worn seven items of clothing for the last two weeks – and been. just. fine. I didn’t die. The world didn’t stop spinning. And yet, there are 308 MORE items in my closet. That doesn’t even include undergarments, socks, or shoes! I have drawers that literally are too full to shut. I have more t-shirts than one person should be legally allowed to own. Go with me here…let’s say, since I really am a wickedly frugal person and generally never spend more than $15 for ANY item of clothing, that each of those items cost me $15. Friend, I have $4,725 in my closet alone. Don’t even get me started on my kid’s closets!! Does that make anyone else want to puke?

And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I would have had FOUR more trash bags full of them if I hadn’t purged last year in disgust of my excess, after reading this amazing and humbling book.

What about you? Do you also spend $15 on each item of clothing? Maybe less? Teach me! Maybe a bit more? Maybe a lot more? Oh how easy it is for us to justify how we spend our money. After all, it’s our money, right? Nope. (Luke 14:33, Luke 18:22)

dare you to count your own clothing items. In fact, I triple dog dare you. Ya, I went there.

And then, for the truly brave, comment on my blog and tell me. I can’t wait to hear. Or comment on whether you agree or disagree with me. By the way, this isn’t a political battle. It is a spiritual battle. I am not a socialist. I’m not a Replublican either, for the record. I’m not an anything except a Christian, wife, Mama, friend, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, etc. Period. This is so not about how we cast our vote or where we shop.

It is about our hearts.

It is about our motives.

It is about whether the heck we actually look like Jesus to this world or not, dangit!

I want to hear what you have to say. Truly.

But, until then…I gotta go to Jesus about this thing before I start to scream or cry. Or both.

Lord, I’m wondering now, if you could screw up a few people’s ideals. Could you please come into our churches and mess us up? I beg you, Holy spirit, begin a stirring in our hearts that yearns for so much more. Let disgust not enticement be our reaction to worldliness. Humble us in whatever way you need to. I believe so profoundly, Lord, that this is not your idea of Christianity. Show me what is. Show us what is. Help us to be wise with our extreme wealth. Help us to stand out in this world. Come into our churches, into our conscious thought and mess.it.up Jesus. Wreck us for You – not for worldly things. Help us, please, God to not miss the whole point. Destroy our desire to be “lovin’ life”. May all we aim for, Lord, is for You to be lovin’ how we live our life. Amen and amen.

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15 thoughts on “A Blinged Life

  1. Cathy Spivey on said:

    I knew I loved you! You just spilled my heart out on paper!!!!!! I have tried so long to out my exact feelings into words, and you just did a beautiful job of it:) humbled and blessed to hear your heart!

    • Oh sweet Spivey…thank you! I am thrilled to know I have at least one fellow friend who is as screwed up as I am. 🙂 May we never go back to the way we were! Now, go count your clothing… 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Yes, yes, yes, and ABSOLUTELY YES. Thank you for your courageous words and calling us out. I think Jesus shakes his holy head at us, wanting so much more for us than we think we want for ourselves.

    You already know the number in my closet. Shhh. It’s more than yours. It’s nauseating. But it’s going to change soon.

    • Thanks Thing One. You and I have worn this subject out and still come back for more. He wants so much good for us, I am just afraid we have lost sight of what real ‘good’ is. I can’t wait for you to get to bless so many (many, many, many hehehe!) women with your un-needed clothes. To God be the glory for that! Would you post the link to that place you are taking the clothes to, on here??) And I LOVE the quote you told me at carpool. Was it David Platt, I think who said “It’s not thinking about how much do I have to/need to give…it’s about thinking “How much do I really need to keep?” Love you!

      • http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/21/4721013/the-care-closet-provides-clothing.html

        This is where I’m going to take a VERY LARGE PERCENTAGE of my ridiculous number of clothing items. And yes, I believe it was David Platt who said that. This whole thing is so messy. I will try to digest all my jumbled thoughts on my blog in the next day or so. But I think it comes down to this: taking the American consumerism blinders off our stinkin’ eyes and seeing what God has entrusted us with. ENTRUSTED. That’s the key, perhaps. What are we going to do? Build bigger storehouses? Bigger closets? Storage units? Or will we provide for the least? I’m convinced God is shaking us awake and turning our heads toward another way. Whiplash, baby.

  3. I estimated that I had 150 items of clothes/shoes/purses/jewelry, but I ended up having 294 items. I am sickened and humbled–especially since I go through and weed my closet a couple of times a year. I’ve been wearing eight items for the past week; other than having to do laundry more often and missing my earrings, I’ve been COMPLETELY fine.

    Since reading Seven and Interrupted last month, (as well as currently working on The Seven Experiment with y’all), I’ve been asking the Lord to reveal the next steps in living and reaching the hurting as Jesus did. Then I started reading Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson and Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren. Both books are about this very thing–following the Holy Spirit into God-ordained passions–even if it’s messy, inconvenient, or hard. I’m keeping my eyes open to divine opportunities.

    I am sick of ineffective, innocuous, indulgent living. I want to know/love God and share in His purposes for this life and beyond. May the Lord continue to mess with us!!

    Thank you for sharing.

    Deb Weaver
    thewordweaver.com

    • I estimated 150 too, crazy huh!?! Thanks for sharing for the world to see. 🙂 I, too am tired of this type of life. This Fasting time, through our 7 Experiment Bible study is unlike anything I’ve done. Isn’t it amazing how God uses the extra room we make for Him in so many areas of our lives to open our eyes and draw us closer to Him? Love it! So happy you are a part!

  4. Cassidy on said:

    Friend, you know I love you and your heart for Jesus. The Bible doesn’t say that He cares only for the poor. There are a lot, I mean A LOT, of unsaved rich people around… Poor in spirit, yes. But very wealthy. And, Jesus loves them and wants to know them, too. I attend a big, wealthy church, complete with coffee bar. I worshipped there on Sunday, where 900 people made decisions to follow Christ. Those fancy churches are saving souls. I see your point, and I get your heart. But Jesus uses us all differently, to reach different people, in different places, and different seasons. Rich people need Jesus, too. I spend more than $15 on just about every item of clothing I own. I don’t feel guilty. Or wasteful. My first fruits go to The Lord, and we give more than that when we feel led. There is no guilt or shame in that, friend. We are all called to serve and give and do, but we are all called differently. Our pastor, who lives in a million dollar home, has given EVERYTHING away. TWICE. God have it back. And then some. God didn’t call us to live with nothing.

    • Yes, I do know you love me. And you know I love you. What a great how-we-met story we have, about all God can do if/when we give Him full reign. I love it! And although I may disagree with you, I do not judge you. It is not my place at all. Just like I said I didn’t judge that blinged out boots girl. She could be the real deal. So could I. So could you. Rich/poor isn’t the matter. It’s the heart. I never said Jesus ONLY cared for the poor. He would have LOVED for the rich Pharisees to have fully devoted themselves. Key word – fully. He would have loved for the rich, young ruler to have given everything up to follow Him. But, they, like so many of US are not willing. We care far too much about out stuff. And yes, admittedly, it is easier for me, someone who (by comparison of those around me only) don’t have as much money, to talk about easily giving up the worldly things. Ya sure, I don’t have as many worldly things, so that’s an easier concept. Sure, I’ll give you that. Jesus loves each of us whether we are worldly rich or worldly poor. And I am not saying mega-churches are bad. I am not saying small, humble-by-appearance churches have it all right. Neither is true. I have heard of MANY great things God has done through your church. And I have heard of the generous heart your pastor has. I don’t doubt either. I just can’t help but wonder what MORE God could do. I mean, if anyone, a pastor especially, chose a $200,000 house instead and had the $800,000 cash – think of all the possibilities for God! If a church purposefully CHOSE to build a $4 million building (debt free) instead of a $12 million dollar building, (debt free) they could probably singlehandedly resolve the water crisis in an entire country. This argument could be made for me as well! Instead of this $200,000 house, why couldn’t we buy a $100,000 house and give the rest away? I am not immune. I am rich. You are richer. But, we are both blessed beyond belief! And, I BELIEVE we are called to a much higher standard than the world. I believe WE should be far more concerned about how much we really NEED to keep, not how much we HAVE to give away. Wearing seven items of clothing may be a bit extreme. But, 315 items of clothing is FAR too extreme! I picture a woman in a third-world country, who wears her same ONE shirt every day, walking into my closet. I am guilty. I am ashamed. And I am done buying into this American Christian experience. I will blow it. I will get sucked back in here and there. But, I PRAY that I am never the same as I was. And I can’t help but continually go back to this beloved verse we use with our kids all the time – 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].”
      So, again, THANK YOU for commenting. And yes, I’m praying for you to be even more and more wrecked up for His Holy passion. I am proud of all you have done and happy to see God work mightily in you and through you. And about your txt – I totally agree! 🙂

  5. Kim Matthews on said:

    Hey Caroline,
    Quick comment because my kids are calling…
    I’m always reminded of the passage in Matthew 7:21-23 when I think about the “Christian” culture getting it all wrong. People will be calling to Him, “Lord, Lord” but He will look at them and say, “I never knew you.” How many people will fall back on the fact that they said “the prayer,” and are still sooooo lost! I love reading your blogs and are praying for the changes in my life.

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    • Love it! Thanks for sharing! That verse gives me the chills too! Oh how madly I want to honor His Name while I’m here. For believers, it should be far more than just ‘getting into” heaven. My pastor always says there will be plenty of people who are ‘singed but saved’. They got in but have nothing to offer at His feet. (1 Cor. 3:13!!) I don’t want all I have to offer to be burned up before His Feet because it was all done for me and not for Him. (1 Cor. 3) Oh how I want our American Christian culture to wake up, get off the pew, and get out there are serve like Jesus, love like Jesus, and live like Jesus!

  6. Stacie Hubbard on said:

    I have about 350 pieces of clothing in closet and drawers. But that doesn’t include my handbags, jewelry and boots. I agree with you girl. My goal is not to let my belongings control me. I own those items in the closet. They do not own me! Great read! Thanks!

    • Thanks sweet Stacie! I miss your face! You make a great point about not letting our ‘things’ control us. This next week in our 7 Experiment is a Fast from possessions. I will be giving away 7 items from my home every day for two weeks. I feel certain this one won’t even hurt that much. We have too much. So many have too little. I’m done with that. Love love.

  7. Pingback: The 7 Experiment: Clothing. AKA: Knicks plundered heaven | from the corner of my couch

  8. Claudia Thompson on said:

    Dear Sweet Caroline,

    I hear your cries and spirit yearning for truth and revival. My experience too is personal and in no way meant to judge any one. In the last several months I have been struggling with accepting the Lord’s grace. I am joyfully overwhelmed with his abundant blessings upon my life I struggle to accept it. Many of these blessings have come in spiritual growth in my marriage but mostly in my husband walk. While we still each have room for growth there are days I have allowed fear to blur out the steps that we have taken forward. I have struggled with legalism vs Holy Spirit led convictions. There have been days where I have allowed ‘comparisons’ to other Christians drive me nuts. ‘Why don’t they feel the need to minimize their alcohol consumption’ or ‘Why do they feel okay spending their money this way or that way’ or ‘How is it they are simply okay and accepting of such beliefs’ or ‘Why is he or she not content and want more’ ‘Why would one spend more than $20 on a pair of jeans’ Why???etc… I can go on. Lord forgive me but am I trying to fulfill your role of perfection? Is there any area of my life that I have yet to forgive myself for? Am I placing unrealistic expectations on those dearer and closer to my heart? Is there a place in my heart that needs a change? I can not rest and accept.

    As we all know, The Lord hears our cries. He knows our desires. He places people and bible studies in our lives that bring answers through his word. The study of the life of Paul was just inspiring. One week Beth Moore talked about our conscience. Rom 9:1 describes the way the Holy Spirit and ones’ conscience. ‘The Holy Spirit who resides in us supplies abundant power not only to recognize the right thing, but to do it!’

    My convictions / conscience about certain things in my life may seem legalistic to some but thru prayer God gave me peace about them. Obedience to The Lord is key. I can not worry about everyone else (though difficult to accept). I will hold on to His word and not allow any more inner battles to steal my joy. Rom 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Col. 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” 1Tim 4-6 touch on areas imperative for strong ministry. Beth points out we must train to be godly, set an example, do not neglect our spiritual gifts, and watch our life and doctrine closely.’

    Romans 8:5b ‘those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires. 6The mid of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace.’

    Jer 17:7-8 ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in The Lord and whose trust is The Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends his roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but it’s leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit’

    I have lived in times with very little and given all I could and now live with much and hope and pray to God I do not blow it. 2 of my greatest privileges are 2 precious children in God Cares School. Love giving away things we no longer need or use. This is not to pat myself but to rejoice that God has entrusted me with much and it excites me to give. I do not deserve this privilege but I will trust Him in it.

    As I sit Tuesday nights at bible study I see that a revival is coming. These women keep coming and are hungry for The Lord. He is building up His army! We will not sit idle. God is in control of all the uncontrollable s therefore we just need to trust and continue the faith.

    I am so sorry to have gone on and on!!!!

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