This book has stirred something within me. A sleeping giant, if you will. "7", written by Jen Hatmaker, is an extremely entertaining look at one women's attempts to combat excess in her life. Seven areas of excess whittled down to just 7 articles or concepts in each area.
7 places to spend money
7 articles of clothing
7 areas to cut waste
7 areas of media overload
7 different possessions given away daily
7 pauses to combat the stresses of everyday life
7 fascinating months of God revealing much greate areas of excess than she ever imaged
I heard Jen speak a little over two weeks ago. I went to hear her out of pure curiosity. You see, Jen lived on the same floor in the freshman dorm that I did our freshman year. I knew her from a distance. Out of shear curiosity did I go to hear her speak. What I discovered blew me away. . .there are actually people out there that think the same way I do. The difference between her and I at this point is most definitely fear. I am fearful of breaking the status quo. What will people think of me? I have no doubt that Jen may have felt the same way as the Spirit stirred change in her heart. I haven't read her book Interrupted in which she tells the story of the complete change for her family that led to 7. But these ideas are pretty radical and the idea of vocalizing them causes me great stress. I attempt to cut excess or often done in the privacy of my own home so no one will know what I really do. (You should hear the comments I get when it does come out that use cloth diapers.)
So how does this affect me? When I drove home that night, I asked God for a 7 challenge. I love challenges like this. Mostly to prove to myself that I can do it (which is the main reason I ran a 5K in middle of Texas August lat year.) But I was already seeing the excess in my life and I was growing weary of it. I also asked God for verses to challenge my life and thinking. I didn't want to go hear a dynamic speaker and then adopt her ideas. That never works. I wanted to have the Spirit move in me in ways He needed to. To teach me personally. I took time to fast and pray. I finished 7 and my motivation grew even stronger. But I am pretty insistent that I not act simply because I have been impressed with the author and her ideas. I want to be moved by the Spirit alone. I believe that the Spirit can use different means of moving me and 7 has been the catalyst and I know now that He has been moving and awakening the sleeping giant within me.
Living little, Giving Big is now our family motto. It is my dream that we have the ability to live well below our means that we might be able to give in the areas that we are most passionate about. Helping the poor, the sick, the orphaned, the widow (you know that whole "true religion" thing. ~ James 1:27) I don't believe we can get there until we truly understand the amount of excess we truly live under.
That is what this blog is about. My little blog here is going to chronicle our journey. . .and hopefully encourage people along the way. Over a two week time period I have been given my challenge and He's been teaching me much.
This blog is a reflection of our new course and it's journey. The purpose is 3 fold:
- To simply tell the story of how God is moving in our midst as we cut the excess and find bigger ways to give.
- To gently give challenge to the reader to consider their own excess and it's impact on the world around them.
- To offer direction in combating excess without the overwhelming need to do it all at once. (This coming from a former perfectionist how usually tries to do it all at one time.)
Not only has the Spirit been working in my heart, He's been stirring in my husband as well. And as I have communicated to my family what the Lord has laid on my heart and all that He's teaching me, my oldest daughter is seeing a small glimmer of the road the Lord is laying before her. Both of them will be joining me as I blog through this journey.
By the way, God never really did give me a personal 7 challenge different from Jen's. He's simply told me to do the 7 challenge for myself with a few areas to tweak. So you will learn a great deal about me (mostly about my sinful, lustful, and addictive heart) as I begin my 7 challenge in the next few weeks. (My sinful heart was avoiding it all together hoping from something easier.) I am still in the planning stages. I also want to meet with a group of ladies whom I am hoping will either join me in this or at the very least be my counsel.
I am not expecting this journey to be easy. I can already see areas where the Lord is moving in me. But I am very excited about the direction the Lord is moving my little family. I hope you will join us in this journey. Spur us on and we'll do the same.