Overflowing–Meets–Intentional Reduction

My life is full of stuff.  FULL.  Overflowing.  I have a bedroom busting with things, my clothes barely fit in my closet and drawers…actually I will tell on myself and admit that I have several bins designated as the “switch out bins” for when I switch my summer and winter clothes because not all of my clothes fit in my closet and….yes….three dressers.  Right next to my clothes bins are several other bins with…who knows what….just “stuff.”  I secretly think my roommates must take my name in vain every time they go to do their laundry in our basement and have to maneuver around all my storage.  Love them.  They put up with me and all my stuff.

I also live an extremely comfortable life.  I eat what I want, when I want to, and if I’m not eating what I want, it’s because I’m too lazy to go get what I want!  Because I have the luxury of being lazy.  And I have a car that will take me wherever I want to go.  I have the world at my fingertips with my iPhone…no matter how slow or cracked it may be…..ha.  🙂  My mind is filled with noise….never a dull moment as I listen to pandora, i-tunes, the radio, CD’s…yes I’m still a CD user sometimes.  I run, run, run, and do as many fun things as I can pack into every moment of every day of my life.  I am currently sitting on my comfortable couch, listening to the wind howling outside my door, wrapped in a warm blanket, fresh from a hot shower, reading a great book.

Enter Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: an experimental mutiny against excess.

Talk about eye opening.  I mentioned in my last post how I was shocked to learn that not only am I rich, but based on my annual salary, I’m in the top 4% of the wealthiest people in the world.  That number often sticks in the front of my mind these days.  In fact just today I was explaining this recent discovery to my fifth grade students who seemed just as shocked as I was.

Jen became overwhelmed by the excess of stuff and what it does to us.  How it shapes us and makes us more self-centered and entitled than we already are.  How it feeds so many of our sin areas and does not create in us a heart like Jesus.

So she began her adventure of Seven.  The basic idea is a seven month fast with a different theme every month.  Each month focusing on an area that she felt the Lord moving in her heart to purge, give, remove, simplify, reduce.  Jen says,

I’m embarking on a journey of less.  It’s time to purge the junk and pare down to whatever is necessary, what is noble.  7 will be an exercise in simplicity with one goal:  to create space for God’s kingdom to break through.

I love that.  As soon as I started reading it…I knew I had to participate.  I must take action when I’m learning something.  (Yes I was that kid in school who always shot my hand up to be the volunteer.)  I need to do things.  Experience them.

And I’ve felt the Lord walking me in this direction for awhile now.  If you’ve been with me over the past year there have been many lessons learned……My eyes have been opening to blessings, spiritual and physical.  My heart has been challenged to practice thankfulness in order to find true, deep, joy…challenged to obedience and submitting my whole self to Jesus and what He wants from me….deepened my vision of loss as true gain in order to share with Christ and experience all that He chose to let go of…learned how to fall at the feet of Jesus in utter and desperate need of Him.

All that to say…I will be embarking on my own journey.  I am currently creating my own fast similar to Jen’s.  She defines a fast as

an intentional reduction, a deliberate abstinence to summon God’s movement in my life.  A fast creates margin for God to move.  Temporarily changing our routine of comfort jars us off high center.  A fast is not necessarily something we offer to God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.

I need help in offering myself.

So…how do I feel about the fast?  (more to come on details….will begin in January!)

I’m terrified.  Scared.  Think that I’m probably as crazy as Jen Hatmaker.  And I think the only reason I will make it through some of these months is pure stubbornness….and the grace of God.

I’m excited.  Stoked actually.  I love a challenge…competitive in nature.  I love the idea of simplicity and the purging of junk. I am excited because I know God will move.  I know He will do more than I could ever imagine.  I need Him to teach me more.  I’m hungry for Him.  If this physical exercise will help me become more aware of my blessing and more aware of my need for Him…then so be it.  Bring it on.

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