Monday, December 29, 2014

Seven

Hey, y'all.

It's been awhile, no?

Hope you had a very merry Christmas, and are looking forward to a fresh start (which never really feels like a fresh start to me, because I still feel like my same old self and I don't do resolutions) with the new year. (And don't forget the New Year's Eve festivities!)

My sister and brother-in-law--two of my fave people--were in town over the holiday, and we stayed up way too late talking and discussing like only sisters can, and even today I don't feel like I've fully recovered from the late nights. BodyPump this morning was...slow, and even know I'm feeling like a nap might not be such a bad idea.

Hello, caffeine.

Have you ever felt called to do something? Like really, really called to do something?

I've always wondered about "those" people--the really spiritual ones--who have felt called to other countries, or to start a new ministry, or to do good things for other people at their own personal sacrifice. I'm always like, what does that feel like? and where does that come from? Because I've never felt a strong calling to do anything. I just kinda like do what I think seems best, especially when I remember to add some prayer to it, and voila. A pseudo-calling!

Jen Hatmaker might have a calling. (I say might because, really, how do I know? Seems like it from the outside.)

I'm not sure I do.

However, I remember a few years ago, sitting in the church library during a particularly banal bible study session, (I say this not because bible study is boring--okay, most of the time bible study is not boring--but because I don't remember anything from it. I don't even remember the title. I just remember the mentioning of this book.) and there was discussion over the next book to be read, and Jen Hatmaker's book The Seven Experiment was mentioned as a possibility.



All she had to do was read the back of the box to have me hooked.

Do you feel trapped in the machine of excess?
Are you finding that more isn't always better?
Is abundance holding you back from something greater?

Now, I'll admit, the general state of my mind goes something like this: if I could just have _____, then I would be happy...and if I could just change ______ about my _______, THEN I'd be really happy...and if I could just have more _______, then I'd be really, REALLY happy.

But somehow, even in the midst of gaining more and having more and storing my excess in the basement (i.e. gaining happiness???), the happiness somehow eluded me. And I have been all like what the what? Because THIS IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE ME HAPPY!

So perhaps you can understand where I would be interested in getting off the Pottery Barn Wheel of I Must Haves.

Then again, I'm not interested because I like stuff, and I like changing things, and sometimes changing things around means new stuff, and who can help it if Pottery Barn happens to have exactly what I need and look, they just sent me a coupon for $25 off $50, so really, it would be stupid to pass it up.

My mind is diametrically opposed to itself. No wonder I have so many issues.

But this bible study, The Seven Experiment, has been on my mind ever since those first three sentences were read out loud. Seriously. It's been years. (Okay, that might be a touch dramatic, because the copyright is 2012. Whatever.) Almost like I need to do it.

So the plan was to read it on my own, which I conveniently forgot about the minute I walked out the door, because really, who wants to be called out on the excess they have squirreled away in their basement?

I've finally been given the opportunity to actually read, and discuss, the study with a group of more of my fave people--my Sunday morning bible study girls.

I am so excited, like soooooo excited, like whooo-hoooo excited about this bible study.

And then I wonder--is this what people feel when they feel called to do something? Because the calling doesn't have to always mean a trip to the Congo. It could mean doing something as small as facilitating a bible study with a group of awesome women at church on Sunday mornings. Right?

So, starting in January (next week!!), we will crack open the pages of The Seven Experiment by Jen Hatmaker and read about what fasting from the excess really means, and maybe even do some of our own experiments.

Why seven?

There are seven categories: clothes (yikes), spending, waste, food (double-yikes), media, possessions (triple-yikes) and stress (okay, I can handle a fast from stress). We will read what the bible has to say about the excess in each of these categories, we will identify where we have excess, and we will spend a week doing something about it. Maybe it'll be a week of giving stuff away (for example, Jen Hatmaker and her family gave away seven things--a day--away for an entire month). Maybe it'll be a week of eliminating different categories of spending. Maybe it'll turn into a month.

Maybe it'll turn into a lifetime of "staging your own mutiny against excess", as she puts it.

Whatever happens, you can be sure that I'll have something to say about the experiences--because I know that with eliminating waste, I'm doing okay, (I'll never forget when Oprah said to turn off the water while brushing your teeth. It changed my life.), but I can already tell you, clothes and food will be difficult. I've read through some of the book and have already come up with excuses as to why a certain idea just won't work for me.

Even so, the next 9 weeks of this study are going to be really, really fun.

"Discover how temporarily disengaging from excess can allow God's heart to break through your stuff and open you eyes to the things that really matter."--Jen Hatmaker

Here we go.



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