Last week I read a book called Seven by Jen Hatmaker . It is a book about battling the excess in our lives. Jen picked seven categories to focus on and did 7 things in each category for one month each. For example, the first month was “food.” Jen only ate seven foods for a month. The second month was “clothes” and she wore only seven items of clothing for a month. Another month was “possessions” where she gave seven items away every day for a month.
The point is we as Americans have a lot of stuff. We can go anywhere we want when we want. We can order a coke at any time of the day. We can grab a coffee on the go. We can pick up that shirt we really don’t need from Target because we have cash on hand. We aren’t wanting for anything here. Even the poorest among us has extra “stuff.” We waste, we overspend, and we fail to realize how blessed we truly are.
What comes to mind for me is the poor widow in the gospel of Mark. Jesus is watching the people in the temple He is beside the treasury, basically the offering bucket, and He sees a poor widow go by and put in two small copper coins, which amounts to about a cent. Jesus says, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
We normally give from our excess. It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t pain us. Because it is just a small percentage. It is excess.
But the widow, ah. She got it. It wasn’t about stuff. It was about TRUST.
“If you trust the Lord, you will be safe.” Proverbs 29:25
The widow trusted God. She knew He would take care of her because she gave out of trust. She relied solely on Him. It wasn’t the coins that would bring her next meal, but God.
Yizzerbots (Nic word). I need a lot of fixing.
So this month, I am determined to cut some excess. I am not going to be as radical as Jen and focus on one thing each month for 7 months, but what I am going to do is focus on seven things this month. These are the seven things I find excessive in my life.
Food – I am only going to go to the grocery once a week, and for this month I am only going to buy fruits, vegetables and dairy. Why? Because I have excess in my pantry. It is about time to widdle that excess down. I am guilty of having Oreo cookies and then buying five boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. Then my pantry is a mess, I get stressed, and none of it is good for me anyway. This has to stop. So, for the month of March I am going to just buy the good stuff. If I run out of other stuff, oh well. I will have to make bread. I will have to dig into my oatmeal. I will have to eat more healthy.
Possessions – I am following Jen on this one – I am getting rid of 7 things a day for one month. This is going to be interesting because I ALREADY went through my clothes, my kitchen, and my garage last month SO what I give away this month is going to HURT a little. It will be nice stuff, stuff I hold on to because I may wear it once a year, or pretty enough to save in case I want to bring it out for Christmas. It is all stuff I don’t NEED. I tell you, I have about 20 jackets and I live in the SOUTH for crying out loud. GET RID OF THEM. Someone else will need and cherish them. I already have 2 boxes full (see picture).
Waste – I am SICK of going into the grocery and forgetting to take in my reusable bags! If I enter a grocery without my bags and realize it at the check out counter I will NOT let the cashier put ANY item in a bag. I will buy my stuff and walk out. NO BAGS. I am going European on this one.
Media – I am only doing stuff on line that is necessary for my business. I will not be checking facebook other than for business and personal messages. I will not be surfing the web for pleasure. Nada. I am currently addicted to the TV show Bones – I’m now in the 4th season. Sometimes I sit down at night and watch 3 episodes. This is not happening this month. I can only do that on one weekend night. During the week, I am watching only news and things I need to see to research my next book. I am taking 2 days a week this month – Monday and Wednesday and TURNING OFF MY PHONE. I found out this morning that I could put my phone on “do not disturb” with only a few “favorites” able to ring me. My favorite this month is my kids school. If my kid needs me, I will be there. But on Monday and Wednesday, I need to work ALL DAY. If you try to text me then, sorry folks.
Shopping – I am not an outside shopper, but I am an on-line shopper. I will not be looking on-line to get anything other than books for by research. When magazines come int he mail, they are going directly in the recycle bin. I will not even look at them. I will NOT look. I will NOT buy. I will NOT go shopping for anything (besides my once a week grocery trip). Period. I don’t need it.
Family – When my kid gets home after school this month I taking a New York Minute and playing a game with him, spending time, and enjoying every minute of his 8 year old life. If I haven’t done this every day of my entire life SHAME ON ME.
Prayer – I am stopping seven times a day to pray. When I wake. After Bible Study. At noon. At dinner. At my kid’s bedtime. At my bedtime. At some point during the night (because I ALWAYS have to get up to pee….)
Let’s see how this month goes. Honestly, I think i am going to love it. Let stress, more God. Less stuff, more God. Less hurry, more God.