Jen Hatmaker engaged in a transformative experimental mutiny against excess with her family, and wrote a book about it.
Feeling deeply the vast gap between those of us in the Western world and so many others in God’s world, she explored with her family the idea that our lifestyles, our abundance of everything, might be standing in the way of a deeper connection with Jesus, and an understanding of His desire for us. In her own words:
We have so freaking much. So much money, education, resources, opportunities, knowledge, possessions, gifts, consumer power, privileges, advantages. We have every tool at our disposal, yet we are chronically plagued by ailments – social, spiritual, physical, emotional. Enough.
These are more of the observations that prompted the experiment:
- How can the richest people in the world still be so unhappy?
- Does my craving for more neutralize the enough that Jesus says He is?
- As believers in the western church, how can we have so much and do so little with it?
- “Enough with the waste as 25,000 people die today of hunger, while I throw away another pound of food we didn’t get around to eating.”
So. Taking seven areas of overconsumption, they fasted from the excess of each for a month by choosing only seven. Seven foods for a month. Only seven pieces of clothes for a month. Give away seven things we own each day for a month. Eliminate seven forms of media for a month. Adopt seven substantial habits for a greener life. Spend money in only seven places. Practice “seven sacred pauses” a day and observe the Sabbath…a deeply reduced life to find a greatly increased God.
Some of us are going to try our own “7” experiment during the season of Lent. We are convinced God will show up in greater measure as we consciously put aside some of our abundance. My 7 experiment will involve a modification in all areas, but a deep reduction in three. And the addition of “seven sacred pauses”. Because I know this will change my life.
We invite you to join us. Ponder and pray about the areas and ways you will give up some of the excess in your life. You could pick two and focus on one each for 20 days of the Lenten season. You could choose modified ways of “giving up” from several areas, for the entire season. You could choose one, and reduce exactly as described. We know God will lead you to the right choice for your life; we know He will love the act of giving up for His sake, and the for sake of His children in the world.
Will you join us in this Lenten challenge? Do you have questions? Need accountability? Let’s meet briefly after worship on Sunday, February 26.
Thanks, Ruth Ann Schuringa & Karen Piccolo