Rhonda Frazier (Super Science Mom) recommended 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Amazon link) to me. Well, really, she recommended it to all her closest friends on Facebook. I bought it yesterday for my Kindle (it was $2.99 yesterday, $4.99 today) and I’m already about two chapters into it.
Excess in our Lives
I know, all that detail is probably not all that important to you, but here’s the deal. This book is really kicking my tail. It’s making me think about the way I approach life and how much stuff I have and why I have it. Excessive stuff. It’s making me think about my (sometimes bad) attitude in light of the fact that God has richly blessed me and I’m surrounded but stuff nearly as far as I can see. It’s made me see a little of the excess in my life.
Now, I’ve been working with the idea of a more minimalist life for several months. I’ve subscribed to a few blogs and I’ve known that I have more stuff than I need and that often my love of stuff is stealing my joy. I know that my life is cluttered. Yours probably is too.
The struggle, though, is knowing how to approach it. Sure, there’s a part of me that likes the siren call of Zen minimalism. But I don’t really buy into the Eastern mysticism thing. And, devoid of that, my only foundation is (or was) not being wasteful and trying to make myself happier.
Identifying and Fasting:
But Jen presents a delightful, if not very insightful, view of approaching life this way. Well, really two approaches. The first is identifying with those who are actually in need (you know, the people who really are starving to death, not the ones arguing about which Happy Meal to buy).
The second, and more powerful one in my mind, is fasting. She presents a strong case for short-term minimalism as fasting. As creating space for God to move and to change our hearts and minds.
Listen to how she says it:
I approach this project in the spirit of a fast: 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.
Hatmaker, Jen (2011-12-19). 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Kindle Locations 145-147). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
I think that’s the missing piece for me. The part that ties reducing the excesses in my life to a spiritual principle and discipline.
Note: I’ve applied this principle before by changing my media diet. But never to the extent that Jen has. Never as the beginning of a journey towards long-term reduction.
Now, her fast focused on seven things that she believes Westerners have in excess. Things like food and clothing and such (no, I’m not going to ruin it, you’ll have to read the book for the rest of them). And her plan was to focus on one a month for seven months. Giving things up and replacing them with other things.
I’m not quite sure what a “7” fast could look like for me. What excesses I God would bring to my mind. In fact I’m a little afraid to ask the question. But I’m going to.
I’m convicted. And the first two chapters have already revealed how deeply I like stuff and don’t want to give it up.
Which leads me to my question for you.
Would you join me in working though this book and allow God to speak to you?
If you do, would you come back and leave a comment to let me know how God’s moving in your life?