7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
My sister-in-law recently lent me the book “No Riding Your Bike in the House Without Wearing a Helmet” by Melissa Fay Greene. I more than adored this book, I devoured every page of it. It’s a humorous, and nakedly honest memoir about a Jewish woman (Melissa) and her husband who decide to add to their already large family through adoption. While I have had my heart pulled towards the idea of adoption before, this book pulled me even closer to wanting to adopt a child with each page that I read. Melissa gives an account of what she went through physically and emotionally as her family grew with each new child. While some moments were described as depressing and difficult, other moments were full of joy. She not only provided a home for children who so desperately needed one, but the children added to their family a love they would have missed out on if they had not chosen to adopt.
Will my husband and I choose to adopt one day? I don’t know at this particular moment. But as I was reading about this woman (Melissa, the author) and her experiences visiting all these children in countries where they lived with so very little, I started to realize how much I really have. Okay, I have always known how blessed I am, but you know how sometimes you need someone to give you a good slap in the face for you to realize how good you really have it? Well, this book was that slap. Then, funny how God works… a friend of mine invited me to her book study where they will be reading “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker. How perfect! I have excess! Excess that is distracting me: distracting me from seeing other’s lack of excess, and distracting me from God’s plan for me in this life. Maybe that plan includes adoption, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it just includes me living a less self-centered life. But whatever it is, how can I hear Him with all this excess screaming at me?
Compared to the rest of the world I am rich but (as Jen, the author, puts it) ” For years I didn’t realize this because so many others had more. We were surrounded by extreme affluence, which tricks you into thinking you’re in the middle of the pack.” But in reality I am in the top percentage of wealth in the world! And you may be rich too. “Make $35,000 a year? Top 4 percent. $50,000? Top 1 percent.” And if we are so rich, why aren’t we happier? Having too much may just be ruining us.
So, I’ve joined the book study and my husband and I will be doing the 7 experiment”. 7 is an exercise in simplicity with one goal: “to create a space for God’s kingdom to break through.”
We will be doing a sort of “fast” from the following 7 areas of excess (one each month):
As Jen puts it, “a fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves… 7 will be a tangible way to bow low and repent of greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities, and irresponsibility. It’s time to admit I’m trapped in a machine, held by my own selfishness.” Jen focused on one area each month and for her it was life changing. Not in a “Oh My Gosh, those chocolate covered Oreos just changed my life” sort of way but a truly eye opening, hearing what God wants from you kind of way.
Today, I start on a journey. I have no idea how God will choose to work through me but I think it’s about time I became more available.
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