Shortly after Shane destroyed my complacent, easy going, happy-go-lucky mojo, I decided that I am a glutton for punishment and started to read some of Jen Hatmaker's books. All while reading the entire New Testament. You read that right. I read the entire New Testament in three days, devouring every word (probably subconsciously looking for a passage somewhere that would excuse me from these recent...ummm...convictions, burdens, callings, whatever). The New Testament didn't help my subconscious much, but it sure did get my conscious. Verses like:
"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" 1 John 3:17
"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way, we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said 'it is more blessed to give than to
receive.' " Acts 20:35
"Sell your possessions and give to the needy..." Luke 12:33
"He said also to the man that had invited him, 'When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
"And he answered them 'Whoever has two coats is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise." Luke 3:11
Friends, I don't know about you, but for some reason these verses have never popped out to me in the way that they are now. I always assumed meeting people's needs meant helping when some poor soul asks for help, or donating to charity here and there. Tithing counts right? I figured He probably wasn't be literal when he suggested to sell everything and to host parties and invite all the poor, sick and homeless. I mean, seriously?
But, now I am starting to think maybe He did. The Bible has hundreds of verses about serving the poor and sick. Yikes.
So between Shane and Jen (her books Interrupted and 7) and God, for crying out loud, I was seriously backed into a wall.
I am so very fortunate. I have so much...all of my needs are met and beyond. It's ridiculous. And when I look around at just my own community, let alone people all over the world, I can't help but feel a pang of guilt. But then, I am overwhelmed, looking around...where do I begin? Should I just call Goodwill and tell them to take everything. Eh, I don't really feel like that's what Jesus is getting at.
What in my life is too much? Well, duh, everything. But where do I begin? How do I trim away the excess and at the same time, fill that space with the Spirit and living and loving the way Jesus commands so that I don't fall back into the same trap of excess?
And cue: 7
Such a fabulous book. Such an incredible experiment. I read it in about a day and a half and then spend another day and a half in tears, praying. I know this is a challenge I need. I know God wants me to try this fast, to learn where I have replaced Him with....stuff. So friends, I am embarking on this challenge. To get rid of the excess in my life, learn to live humbly and simply, more in line with the way Jesus taught Christian life in scriptures, and to draw closer to Him. To leave room in my life for Him to speak to me, to move me, to use me.
I'm super nervous.
So how about it? Anyone read 7? Anyone interested? Anyone want to try the 7 fast?