Never in my life did I think I would make a dinner of homemade whole-wheat tortilla chips, spinach, ground chicken, brown rice, and black beans...and then rave online about how DELICIOUS it was.
But that's what's going on right now, day 5 of Seven. Not day 5 of 7 days, but rather the fifth day of "Seven," an experimental mutiny against excess. Huh?
Enter Beth, my friend turned roommate turned got-married-moved-away-had-a-baby-but-now-her-husband's-deployed-and-she's-back once again roommate. For all of our differences, the greatest thing Beth and I have in common is our desire to live as Christ called us, to be radical followers who never hesitate to do what He asks. Unfortunately, in this materialistic consumer-driven world, it is so easy to be muddled down by "stuff." So many things get in the way of the lifestyle we are meant to live.
In the two years Beth wasn't in Florida, we both happened to read the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker. If you haven't read it, pause and go buy it on Amazon right now. Basically Jen chronicles her journey through the experiment of Seven, where each month she gives up/fasts/focuses on a certain item, things that moved her closer to her agenda and farther from God. She asked "What in my life, in the lives of most westerners, is just too stinking much?" The seven categories she came up with were food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress.
Beth and I decided to try it. We started last week on October 7th with food. For the next 30 days, we only get to eat seven foods...period. All month. It makes grocery shopping really easy. My list consists of:
- Whole-wheat tortillas
- Black beans
- Brown rice
No sauce, no seasonings. No Diet Coke to wash it down or ice cream to polish it off.
(Side note: Beth just texted me...from her bed...this message: "I want twenty chocolate chip cookies." It's not easy, people.)
So why? Why deliberately limit ourselves to a narrow, bland diet? And why will we only be wearing seven articles of clothing next month and cleaning out our closets the next?
We want to create space for God's kingdom to break through. But where is that space when we are surrounded by comfort foods and closets bursting with stuff or scheduled to the max? Seven is an intentional reduction of...everything. Except God. He gets magnified big time here.
We have a disgusting amount of possessions. We let those things dictate who we are and how we spend our time so much that it takes away from our relationships with Christ. By intentionally stripping away the things of the world we make it about Christ in us. He is all we need.
It's not about being extreme. I don't think you're bad if you don't want to join us. I don't really care if you think we're crazy. It's just something I feel called to...and Beth feels called to...so we're doing it. It's an intentional step in simplification so God can be amplified.
A lot of you have been asking what we're doing so that's why I'm throwing it out on this platform. Again, I highly recommend the book, even if you have no desire to do the experiment. Jen's words and heart ring true for all. Also, specifically for this month, please know that though our diet is restricted, we are not! We're still having people over, still accepting invitations to your house or out to eat. It just looks a little different, or we might bring our own food...but we definitely are not using this an excuse to not hang with you :)
So that's it. Pray for us. Read the book. Journey with us if you want. But mostly just pray...because sometimes your small group leaders bring in treats like this...ON DAY ONE...