Friday, July 5, 2013

"7" - I Hate Too Much Stuff

I don't really even know where to begin with this one.  I literally read it in 5 days.  It is an easy, funny read.  Jen's sense of humor and wit is hi.lar.i.ous but her honesty and transparency are what hit so very close to home for me.  Her disgust in the excess and inner battle with the American dream.

I've written about the fight our family is giving the  American culture and the machine of materialism, but man, how quickly it sneaks in and shifts perspective back!

This book was a great perspective shifter.  A reminder that life can, and WILL, go on without the latest fashions lining my closet or the newest gadgets sitting on my mantel or garage or the update statuses for the quick "I-hope-I-get-more-likes" fix, or the "what-else-can-we-put-on-the-calendar" mentality.

Even before I began reading I didn't want to just copy what the Hatmaker family did.  There's no way I'd feel the exact same convictions that her family did, but there is ALWAYS room for change and improvement, even if it is a temporary re-focus in a specific area.  So that was my prayer...that God would speak to and convict MY heart as I read this book, and soften MY heart to any areas that needed some tweaking.

The conclusion at the end of the book was actually my favorite thing.  She didn't leave me a list of to-do's (and ya'll KNOW how much I LOVE to-do lists!) that would ensure a "win" for the fight against this insanity, because quite honestly, they are still working out all the practical ways the Lord is working in their own family, but instead, gave a very easy analogy for me to grasp.  She compared this experiment to someone who is obese and in need of surgery.  They first must lose weight to get rid of the fat, in order to get the surgery that will change their life.  Doing this experiment, for their family, was the hard work of losing the weight, cutting through the fat, so God could reach the soft parts of their hearts, in order to really get to the vulnerable parts that need change.

I will tell you one thing that was utterly embarrassing for me to realize about myself:
I am NOT a shopper.  Anyone who knows me at all can attest to that:)  I pride myself in the purging that continually goes on my house (almost to a fault, actually), but while reading through "7" I was smacked in the face with something that I never even realized about myself.  Yes, I hate shopping.  Yes, I hate excess stuff sitting around unused.  Yes, I purge on a daily regular basis.  These are all fine and dandy, but the problem is that somehow I justify the replacement of it all!  I don't care if it was on sale (ooh, those gray towels are on sale and they will match better, so I'll get rid of the green ones that we've had for forever) or I liked THIS one because it matches or looks better (even though my first one does the job just fine), I am still spending money on something that I don't necessarily "need".  I have this compulsion to buy something, even if it is a coffee while I have a few minutes to myself, or a pack of gum at the "trap" station or the shirt on clearance that's ONLY $4.  Every single one of those items can really add up.  I'm not saying that "stuff" is bad.  God loves to bless his children with good gifts.  But when we frivolously spend more on ourselves than intentionally spending on the hurting and needy around us, then there is need for a perspective shift.  BTW, anyone who speaks to me between services on the weekends is VERY grateful for the pack of gum that made the cut, even if it wasn't on my list, ha, and would therefore be considered a "need":)

I don't believe I'll be doing another Facebook fast or anything, but there are some small changes I am implementing around the house, with my kids, and absolutely in my own life.
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