Journey to Simplicity with 7

Today I begin an online journey with about 100 women from just about every state and a few foreign lands.  We’re reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker and pondering the “excess” in our lives.

Honestly, I’m scared to truly reflect on the excess in my life – maybe because I secretly know how much is there.   [Insert big ‘ole sigh here.]

Our first assignment is to reflect on one of these questions:

  • What would move me closer to God’s agenda and further from mine?
  • How could this be meaningful, not just narcissistic and futile?
  • What areas need the most renovation?
  • How am I blind and why?
  • Where have I substituted the American Dream for God’s kingdom?
  • What in my life is just too stinking much?

I considered all of these questions.  However, one jumped out at me: How am I blind and why?  In fact, I feel as if this question underlies all the other questions.  If I ask God where and how and why I am blind to certain excesses or sins or thought patterns in my life, I will (hopefully) move closer to God’s agenda, renovate my life and views, and reduce my excess.

I don’t think the process of discovering my blind spots will be easy or fun.  I don’t like being told I am wrong, so I am pretty sure when God begins revealing my blindness I will kick and scream and justify for a few days – at the least.

But, I am willing to take this journey because I am tired.  Tired of living in a cultural whirlwind of Facebook statuses, tweets, bills, expectations, and keeping up with those proverbial Jones.  After all, what has the American Dream done for any of us lately besides cause us to feel as if we can’t measure up?

I see broken people, broken families, broken organizations all around me.  I don’t want to join them, but I have a feeling if I don’t keep in stride with God’s agenda and sprint from my own, I will end up caving to a culture that has little true joy to give.

Why would I cave?  Because I have an addictive personality.  I easily jump on bandwagons.  When I have a new idea, project, or membership, I jump in head first and rarely come up for air.  Whatever I do, I overdo.  If I commit, I begin to live and breathe the commitment and expect everyone else around me to get as excited and “all-in” as I am.

Luckily, I have some amazing friends who aren’t afraid to say, “Ah-hem.  Slow down.  Think.  Stay close to God.  Don’t decide without Him.  Remember, He’s in control.”

That’s another issue I have that I hope the 7 journey will help me with:  Control.  I like to be in control.  Right now I am in the midst of some situations in which I have no control – zip, zero, zilch.  And, it’s driving me nuts, so I am praying God reveals my blindness (or stubbornness) in this area and helps me pass control of all things over to Him.

Our group is also considering these quotes from Jen’s book:

  • “I became a girl who loved the marginalized. I couldn’t get enough of them in my personal space.” (2)
  • “Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer.” (3)
  • “The day I am unaware of my privileges and unmoved by my greed is the day something has to change.” (3)
  • “7 will be an exercise in simplicity with one goal: to create space for God’s kingdom to break through.” (4)
  • “My children are young… It is not too late to untether them from the lie of ‘more.’” (5)

Again, as I perused these quotes, most of them spoke to me, but one jumped off the page:  “7 will be an exercise in simplicity with one goal:  to create space for God’s kingdom to break through.”

That’s what I desire most – for God to reveal His kingdom to me in new ways.  To have space in my life and my family’s lives to steep in His love; to learn more about Him, His word, and His ways; and to grow closer to one another and those in our community as an outpouring of His love for us.

I’m done with complicated and keeping up.

I’m ready for simple and slowing down.

The journey won’t be easy – more of a roller coaster or tilt-a-whirl than a merry-go-round.  But, I am buckling down excitedly and expectantly as I anticipate how God will reveal himself and his ways over the next few weeks.

If you’d like to join us or follow along, visit Marla Taviano’s blog; she’s leading us.

Comments

  1. What a beautiful, thoughtful post. One thing (well, more than one thing, but this is the big thing!) that jumped out at me: “What has the American Dream done for any of us besides make us feel like we can’t keep up?” Not to get all political here, but I think it’s the American Dream that’s gotten our country into this mess. It’s time to find our dream somewhere else. Looking forward to taking this 7 journey with everyone!

    • A big amen, Edie! I think the American Dream focuses us more and more on self and less and less on God. Looking forward to refocusing – reminding myself and my family what’s really important:)

  2. Marla Taviano says:

    So much good stuff here, friend. And sooooo much I can relate to–like being in the middle of situations outside of my control. Sigh.

    Excited to learn and grow along with you these next few weeks!

    • Thanks, Maria, for hosting this read-a-long! I had just purchased 7 and started following Jen Hatmaker on Twitter when I saw her retweet your read-a-long. I’ve been guilty in the past of purchasing a book on my kindle and not finishing it, especially if the book’s message begins to convict me. So, having a 100 or so ladies to read and discuss with sounded perfect. I definitely feel God calling me to simplify and refocus on Him; I can’t wait to see what that means:)

  3. I love that you admit you are tired. That perfectly describes I feel all the time and I don’t mean the kind of tired that sleep can remedy. I just haven’t been able to define it but so relate to what you wrote. I look forward to reading-a-long with you.

    • BTW ~ after looking over your blog I am sure we could be BFFs if we lived in the same state. 🙂

    • Thanks, Carla. I pondered the word “tired” a bit. But, that’s all I could come up with. I feel as if I just can’t keep up anymore. Dance, soccer, violin – even obligations at church – I feel like we’re on this treadmill that’s not slowing. I have a 9-year-old son and almost 12-year-old daughter. I don’t want to wake up one day and say…I don’t truly know the hearts of my kiddos. Sure, she’s a dance star and he’s a soccer star and both are fab violinists, but their lives aren’t centered on Christ – yikes! So, hoping God speaks to me through this book and experience. I look forward to reading along with you too!

  4. “I’m done with complicated and keeping up. I’m ready for simple and slowing down.”

    Amen! I can so relate to wanting to be in control. I’ve had some situations lately in which I have no control and can’t predict outcomes etc. But, you know what? I still try to act like I am in control and/or figure out what’s gonna happen etc. And it is soo tiring. I want simple.

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