Well, sheesh…….where to go with this one……and what’s with the picture of my fridge?
I’ve started typing two or three different introductions to this post, but all of them seemed really inadequate at getting across the point I am wanting to share. Hmmm…..it’s been such a long journey from the day I realized our excessive, self-serving, comfort-seeking lifestyle was a problem to where we are today. Not that i’m not still excessive, self-serving, or comfort-seeking….far from it. Just more aware, I guess. See…there I go again….losing the point. Ok, let me start again.
So…..it all started about a year ago in my mind. I was reading my Bible one morning and came across this verse from James 1:27. If you’ve spent much time in church culture lately, you’ve probably read it many times, but it says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I mulled over that verse for days, wondering to myself if I was supposed to take it literally. I know that sounds lame (FYI, taking the bible literally is always a good idea), but at the time I realized I faced two formidable problems in obeying that scripture from James, 1) I didn’t know any widows or orphans, and 2) I had created a lifestyle for myself and my family that didn’t leave me much time or money to spend caring for others. I knew it was a problem, but I wasn’t really sure how to handle it. It was one of those parts of the Bible that I really wrestled with, because I knew that loving others was, according to Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40, the second most important commandment, and if I was really honest with myself, I wasn’t really going out of my way to love others very much. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to necessarily, but I had created a lifestyle that afforded me very little time to spend meeting the needs of anyone outside the realm of my own family. What little extra time I did possess was spent with friends and volunteering my services to my local church. Not bad things to do, of course, but I was starting to really be convicted that I needed to figure out a way to free up more time and money to reach out to the community around me.
Enter the book. It’s by the talented Jen Hatmaker and it’s titled “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” If I was really web savvy, i’d post a link for you to buy it, but i’m not, so just google it. Easy peesy. To give you some clarity and save me some time, here’s the gist of the book, from the Amazon descritption:
American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.
Curious? Interested? Sounds crazy? I was all three and more, so I read it and it was like someone had climbed into my head and put into writing what my mind was thinking…so convenient when that happens. So, the reason I am sharing all this is because I want to invite you to read the book and consider doing a “7″ experiment of you own. The Bean family (well, Austin and I mostly) will be spending the 7 months before our exodus from the military pruning excess from our lives and creating more margin for seeking the Lord and serving others. We’re excited/super nervous about this venture, but feel that it’s a worthwhile thing to do and are trusting that God is going to make much of Himself in our lives as we pare down these 7 areas in our lives. There will be more blog posts about this as we get into it, but we’re “officially” starting with the food category on July 1st. We would love for you to read the book, pray about it, and consider joining us!!!
Here’s a link for you to copy and paste if you want to check out the book……(it’s on kindle for less!!) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1433672960/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=mutantmusing-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1433672960
(And that pic of my fridge? Well, for the “food” month of this whole 7 thing, we are going to choose 7 foods (and coffee….don’t judge) to eat for that month. My fridge in that pic…yeah, way more than 7 foods in there. Goodbye squash, coconut, oranges, sweet potato, almond milk…..i’m going to eat like a fiend for the next two weeks.