Here is a brief review: each week of 7 is a different "fast" experience. Not a literal fast, but some type of self-chosen challenge out of one of seven categories: Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending, Stress. I am at the end of the "Spending" week. I am not exactly sure how next week's emphasis on stress will go, as I cannot very well eliminate my main cause of stress - two year old tantrums - from my life without eliminating one of my favorite people... although I did come close to threatening to eliminate her the other day. But that's a story for a different post.
I could list all the things I dislike about what I've learned. That would take too long.
What I love most about what I have learned is that there have been scriptural applications to answer questions that have plagued the bleeding-heart section of my soul for some time. On more than one topic, Jesus is asking me to take Him at His word and address some heart issues. Issues that I didn't even realize I had. Issues that I did not even realize I had, people. I have a love/hate relationship about when that happens.
Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy... for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:19-21)
Newsflash to me: perhaps "treasures on earth" also include good things like the savings account, and modest house, and home improvements, and stuff for my kiddos, and... and... you get the picture. Maybe it's not just what we have, but the value we place on spending our way. The way we spend our money may actually change our hearts towards the heart of God. Isn't that the whole point anyways-to become more like Christ?
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. (Ps 24:1-2)
Newsflash to me: perhaps caring for God's creation really is an act of worship. What would happen if I acted on the awe I feel about the world around me... i.e. stop using so many paper products (especially since so many of these, like napkins and paper towels, are non-recyclables)? Recycle with purpose (and make Brad do it too)? Use less in general? It may be that my personal boycott does very little to make any difference, but if God spent five days on this magnificent creation, the least I can do is spend five minutes to work on taking care of it. Could I become a steward of creation instead of a consumer of it? Creation care as worship... Hmmm...
The earth is defiled by its people... (Isaiah 24:1-13)
Newsflash to me: this is not just a political issue. It's not about the left or right version of climate change. Creation is / can be a spiritual mirror for how at odds we as the Church are with God's commandments. (That's a heavy sentence. Go back and read it again.) When I think about it like that, I get nervous that we are desperately at odds with how God desires us to treat the earth. How He desires we treat other people. How He desires we treat His bride, the church. (I just typed that, then went and changed another disposable diaper, which I am pretty sure will end up in the ocean one day. I still have a long way to go.)
...Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you - be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth... but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. (Luke 11:37-42)
Newsflash to me (and basically everyone): just because we tithe faithfully, or even more than tithe, doesn't mean the rest is ours to dole out as we please. What burdens your heart? Is it the Holy Spirit nudging you towards a change? Right now I am seriously disturbed by the whole my-children's-jammies-are-made-by-child-laborers thing. This has caused more than a hiccup in my buying. I went to buy new shoes for AG the other day, and stopped short because I had no way of knowing if that company used suppliers who allowed child and/or slave labor. No joke. No new sandals for my gals. (We do live in the south; they can go barefoot to church without being called redneck till they're at least 10.) Then I went back to that app I mentioned (from Free2Work.org), and looked up toys. The present I just bought our niece was made by one of the many companies who scored a D-. Happy birthday Kate! Your new picnic basket was made by children in sweatshops. Hope you enjoy! Ugh.
What if how I buy is an act of worship? Not just as in "I'm spending our money wisely, pat me on the back," but as in "I refuse to buy into the system that encourages companies to make stuff cheaper at any cost." Is everything I do a potential act of worship? Oh my. Everything I do is a potential act of worship.
Every thing I do is a potential act of worship. That seems so obvious now. Even grocery shopping. Even how I sort my garbage. Even gardening (laugh, all you who know that I have kept exactly one plant alive for any length of time - I plan to start a vegetable garden if we ever see the sun again.) Even how/why I save my money. This one may have hit home the most with me, even more than the purchasing thing. If I am taking Jesus at His word, and we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, what about the almighty dollar? What if we started living on less and giving away more? (Jen Hatmaker, you are ruining my life. Okay, well, it could have been the Holy Spirit. Either way.) If I believe Luke 11, then generosity in spirit and in giving is what will heal my broken heart. What will draw me close to the heart of God. Or, "Perhaps we don't need another sermon or a deeper Bible study or a different mentor or a better church to heal what is broken inside us. It seems an endless focus on ourselves hasn't transformed us in the slightest anyway..." Thanks Jen. (inward groan.)
This "experiment" has gone completely different than I thought it would. If you are reading the book, or are doing the study, or about to do either, I would encourage you to not quit. I almost did because... well, just because. Who thinks they need to re-think how they feed their families? Who puts their foot down and stops buying items just because? Or, as Jen Hatmaker put it, "Who says 'No' when they can say 'Yes'?" Good question. I think the answer needs to be me.
Not to distract from the seriousness of this post, but I cannot help myself:
|that is some awesome carrot baby food in her nose.|
Mom of the year.
|Addison loves Rosco a lot more than he loves her.|