An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

So awhile ago I told you about a flip-me-on-my-butt book I read called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  Anyone read it??  What are you waiting for?  Go get it!

I said I was going to do a book group this summer and we’d try our own experiments.  So last week five of the craziest, most adventurous-for-Jesus bunch of women came to our house to launch the Summer of 7.  Molly, Cara, Cathy, Heather, and Theresa.

I can’t imagine a funner (“funner”?) group to be deprived with!

The idea is this…We’re concerned that we may be trapped in a culture of excess where we’re so enmeshed that we can’t see clearly how out of sync our lifestyle is with the kingdom priorities of Jesus.

Soooo…Jen took one area at a time – food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress and boiled each one down to the number 7 for a month at a time.

We’ve decided she’s either a saint or on serious drugs we don’t have access to, so we’re doing our own experiment but just for a week in each area as we read and discuss the book.

As we discussed the first chapter we laughed so hard and agreed we’re all Pharisees, addicted to control and comfort and choice.  But if this little experiment can transform us even the tiniest tidge, into people who are living more like Jesus…well, yea!

Last week we tried to answer some of the questions like:

“What in my life, if taken away, would alter my value or identity?”

and “What causes an unhealthy change of attitude, personality, or focus when ‘it’ becomes threatened?”

And then we launched into our food reduction week.  I’ve got to say, it’s the one I was dreading the most.  Not because I can’t do it, I just don’t want to!  I hate fasts and I feel like there must be something very wrong with me because I never get more spiritual and I never think to pray when I’m hungry like you’re supposed to.  I just become a crabby 2-year-old.  I never think of Jesus, just me!

Anyway, we each picked 7 foods to stick to this past week, but we had  ** (as in exceptions don’tcha know?)  Important things like coffee (notice what’s NOT missing from the picture above) and salad dressing.

Except Cara who has been scrupulously committed to the letter of the law and we’re all in awe of her (but she’d also say she’s the most cranky of the bunch as a result :))

Well, it was an eye-opening, frustrating, hilarious week.  Here are some of the texts and emails that flew back and forth (almost all of them were accompanied by “grace!  no judgment please!”) …

Cath: Confession…I was at a wedding and stuck with my list until I totally rationalized carrot cake as part of my veggies and champagne grapes surely resemble my blueberries-Bri rolled his eyes!

Cara:  I wish I could take a picture of what’s happening in my kitchen right now.  Girls and Steve are eating chocolate cake WITH whipped cream (cuz why not?) while I sit over here with my salmon and potato for the 2nd night in a row.

I asked Steve if he could please take a bite of the chocolate cake and then kiss me.  I’m that pathetic!

Laura: Just figured out craisins are cranBERRIES!!  Score!

Heather:  Sorry I went silent for a bit…busy week.  I’m just catching up with my emails.  HILARIOUS.  It’s so good to be in this together!

Molly: Good to hear from you Heather!  I’m glad to know you hadn’t passed out bc you chose the wrong 7…

Do you think some people have the “gift” of fasting and others don’t?  I definitely don’t.  Maybe we can get a “pass” cuz it’s just not our thing.

All: Amen!

Theresa:  Philippians 4:19 popped into my head this morning! “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.”

Theresa is clearly the most spiritual of the bunch!  I’ll let the others share what we came up with in our “debrief” last night.  Between now and July 9th we agreed to:

  • Purge our pantries and freezers.
  • Choose one week to wear just 7 items of clothing
  • As we get dressed each morning we want to pray about putting on “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Molly’s great idea from Col. 3:12)

Get the book and join us “virtually”!   Pass this post along to your friends who might want to jump in!  

Our gang will post some of their thoughts in the comment section, and you post yours!

14 thoughts on “An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

  1. Theresa Here! I’m praying the Lord will allow me to (In Jen Hatmaker’s words) “…bow low and repent of any greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities and irresponsibility.” Here’s one of my opportunities for improvement in the area of food… ready?.. Wait for it…. THANKFULNESS for even the small items… I mean, seriously… I’m thankful for things I never thought to be thankful for before. For example, just the opportunity to be able to eat something different everyday. Although I thank God for the food I’m eating… I’ve never actually said, “thank you Lord for the blessing of the different types of food and meals!” I will FOR SURE appreciate each meal that will be palatable. Ya’ll get what I’m puttin’ down?!

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  2. That book has been on my “to read” list. I’m not sure if this post makes it move up or down in priority :) Thanks for sharing your story. It’s fun getting a glimpse into everyone’s thoughts through the way you shared bits of everyone’s emails.

    It reminded me a bit of my experience giving up sweets for Lent this year. I failed at my fast, but actually found God there. In case you are interested, here’s the link: http://everydayawe.com/2012/04/04/i-failed-but-maybe-this-is-grace/.

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  3. Crabby Cara here…still fasting, and still crabby. :) Ha ha ha! I was both skeptical and totally intrigued when I heard of the premise of this book. I was afraid it would be too ‘preachy’ and judgemental. I have been so surprised; it’s a gem of a book and you all should read it (regardless if you do the ‘fasting’ or not, it will get you thinking).

    What I have learned so far, and not even so much from the fasting itself, is just the amount of waste our family produces in a weeks time. The food we throw away on a daily basis has really been convicting me. I also feel so grateful (like Theresa said) for the delicious variety of food God created and the freedom to eat all of the wonderful choices afforded to me. I pray I’ll be more mindful and thankful for these things everyday.

    The wonderful thing about all of this is how God has provided me with five AWESOME, lovely women of Christ to do this alongside. He is SO good! We never have to do anything alone… Thank you, Lord, for Your daily provisions!

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  4. first of all, if cara is crabby, more people should be \”cara crabby.\” she laughs & jokes & has great insights.

    second, AMEN! to doing this with these 5 women. incredibly grateful.

    as for ”a-ha!” moments related to the food phase of this adventure…

    1.) it’s been confirmed (for the billionth time) that i truly, deeply connect to God through cooking, food, & the creativity that the intersection of the two brings. being without the opportunity to explore & cook & adventure in the kitchen honestly feels like a void in my quality time with God, and it brings me even greater appreciation of the fact that He knows me so intimately to connect with me in such a specific way.

    2.) i have a terrible time with waste. the places where the line blurred for me during the 7 days were times when not eating something would mean throwing it away.

    3.) as we all agreed – i have a pretty hard time with anyone restricting me &/or my choices.
    full steam ahead with 7 items of clothing for 7 days! ;)

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