For those of you just joining us, on Fridays I try to share practices or resources that God can use to form us. Maggie named it “Spirit Stretch Fridays”.
Anyway, this summer a group of us (some in person, and some online) are trying a spiritual experiment using the book 7, an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker. Buy it and jump in with us if you haven’t already! You can read about our experiences here, and here.
The other night our merry little band gathered around the table on my patio. It was the perfect, warm summer evening with a breeze that kept the mosquitos away, and Molly made it even better by introducing us to dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt from Trader Joes. We can’t decide whether we should write her into our wills or shun her for sucking us into this vortex of deliciousity.
We’re still talking about how the food week has made us acutely aware of flavor and choice and variety and the color and rich delectability of all the food available to us. Choices, choices, choices, when most of the world lives on beans and rice. Since finishing food week Cara still cannot bring herself to put eggs or sweet potatoes in her mouth and says she may never eat them again.
Clothing week was easier for most because several girls totally cheated and spent the week at cabins where they could hang out in their swimsuit all day. No, I’m not bitter… It did highlight for all of us, how we use clothes for both our identity and sense of worth.
This week is possessions so we’re pulling out 7 things every day to give away. Cara has confessed that she prehoarded and Theresa has conveniently scheduled a move to her new home next week, but we’re all trying :)
We agree with Jen when she writes that “Donating everything through a third party removes the relational magic when one human connects with another.” And that there’s too much distance between most Christians and the poor. We need to better know those who live a different reality from us. But we also want to retain the dignity of those we’re trying to help and not encourage an “us and them” mentality, so here’s some of what we decided to do the other night…
1. Listen to God for how to make it personal. We agreed to pray over the items we gather to give away. “Lord show us both what they represent that You want to purge from our lives and who You desire to bless with them and how you want us to do that.”
One of the best moments for me came when I said I had an electronic foot-massager (No, I did NOT buy it. Don’t judge me.) and what under-resourced person would need that??? After a minute several of us thought of a terrific ministry near us called Soul Care that does foot washing and pedicures for homeless people coming for a meal at an inner city church. They’d LOVE my foot massager!!
2. No Crap Baskets. Whether we give anonymously or in person, we truly want this to be a blessing to others, so Molly’s idea was to make gift baskets with different themes – clothing, sports equipment, kitchen items… You know, like they do at fancy fund raisers, and make them special!
Yesterday as we were purging, Cara sent an email saying that she had found not one, not two, but three opened, half-eaten jars of olives in her refrigerator and how did that happen and does anyone out there need one?? Raise your hands! I personally found so many useless items I said I could fill 785 Crap Baskets if that was a thing.
3. Share instead of buying more. Monday night I was coveting Molly’s snazzy rainbow colored book markers. I felt like we were back in Jr. High and I wanted to go get new school supplies. Yesterday here’s what showed up in my mailbox. :)
What about YOU? What are you discovering? Or what do you want US to learn? :)