for our small group we just started a new study. we are doing 7: an experimental mutiny against excess by jen hatmaker. the premise is to temporarily reduce the amount of excess we have in 7 areas of our lives: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress. honestly, this is not a study i would've chosen on my own. it's not really my style. i can get on board with reducing my stress, but otherwise i want lots of food and clothes and i don't want to have to monitor my media time or spending or think about how much i waste in a given day, week, month or year. but i guess that's the beauty of a small group; everyone has a unique perspective, unique gifts, etc. and we are able to learn from one another. so, here goes 7.
jen hatmaker took one month to focus on each of the seven areas of excess. she challenges us to give each one a week. we just read chapter one, which is food. she chose seven foods and ate ONLY those seven foods (plus salt, pepper and moderate amounts of olive oil) for a whole month. her foods were apples, spinach, chicken, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, eggs and avocados. ok, i like those foods; this doesn't sound THAT bad. no spices, condiments, sauces, sweeteners. umm, ok bland, but still, it's only a week. no coffee. that's where i draw the line.
so, joe and i start tomorrow (tuesday, january 20th) with only 7 foods for one week. our foods are pretty much the same as jen hatmaker's, with a few minor modifications:
turkey (my idea is that we can have deli turkey, roasted turkey breast, and ground turkey)
whole wheat bread
also, for the safety of my family i have decided that i will have one cup of black coffee each morning. no lattes. no cream/sugar. so, basically, it sucks. but i fear for my children if i don't have it. so that's that.
since bennett literally lives on cheese, bread, peanut butter, popcorn, and applesauce, he is not doing 7. hunter will do 7 because the kid will eat anything we put in front of him and won't stop eating until we stop giving him food. a boy after my own heart.
joe is all "this won't even be hard" and "i think we should do this for longer than a week." i'm all "GIVE ME CHOCOLATE NOW!" and it hasn't even started yet.
my reluctance to do this experiment has definitely been convicting. as much as i joke about it, i like my comfortable life. i like that i can basically indulge any craving i have at any time. i never have to worry about where my next meal will come from. but the truth is, this isn't the case for the majority of the world. in the book, jen hatmaker talks about how if you make $35,000/year, you are in the top 4% of the wealthiest people in the world. if you make $50,000, you are in the top 1%. YIKES. i chronically take what i have for granted and focus so much energy on keeping up with the joneses. or, as dave ramsey puts it, spending money i don't have on things i don't need to impress people i don't like. yeah, that.
so, i'm praying that God uses this whole experiment to change my heart and help me to recognize my abundance and use the recognition as a catalyst to alter my perspective and behavior long-term. i need to get back to the true meaning of want versus need. the two have become practically synonymous.
but i will continue to maintain that coffee is a need. it just is.