Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading…like A LOT of reading. I love to read. Normally my reading habits are pretty sporadic and I’ll often skim rather than really absorb what I read, and then almost instantly forget what I digested.
It’s a time thing…and a personality thing…and a bit of a lazy thing.
But this summer I read something that profoundly affected my life. PROFOUNDLY people, and I’m not one to use that word lightly – especially when it comes to literature! I have never felt more challenged, awkward, uncomfortable, sad, happy, gross, inspired, entitled, freed, enlightened, liberated, selfish, needy, insecure, amazing, thrilled a little bit disgusting and just plain messed up! Uh huh, one little 221 page paperback did all that. And then the reading floodgates opened, with a new found appreciation for the power of words! Hallelujah!
Now I had been given ample warning before I read my first page. A friend said this to me, on more than one occasion: “Don’t read it unless you are really ready to be flipped inside out and turned upside down.” Boy was she right.
And not only did I read this powerful little paperback, that flipped me inside out and turned me upside down with every page, but I even went so far as to carry out the same experiment that made the author write the book in the first place! Serious craziness people.
But if you read the book, you’d probably feel and do the same. In fact many have, many are, and many more will. Because that’s just the kind of book it is. It MAKES you want to do something radical. Call it inspiration, call it impact, call it whatever…but you can’t read that thing without being shaken up. Its impossible.
The book is “7” by Jen Hatmaker and the subtitle is this: “an experimental mutiny against excess” – amen.
The experiment, in a nutshell: 7 areas of excess, 7 items, 7 months
So the point is to focus on 7 areas: clothing, spending, waste, food, possessions, media, stress, and essentially remove them for a limited time to make more room for someone else – God.
All of the above mentioned areas are ones that most of us could identify as having some sort of out of wack excess, or over indulgence attached to it. I know I do! I have a problem with every one of those areas. Some more than others. I’m only 3 months into it, but let me just say this, I’ve already had to repeat one part of the media month because I failed miserably at turning off the t.v. for 30 days. Seriously?! 30 days??
Clearly I have a problem. It’s not that t.v. is bad, evil and should never be watched again, but I definitely had to ask myself this: At what point will I stop and examine the behaviours I’ve taken to be habitual, and in some cases blindly consuming, and honestly ask myself why I do them. When?
Well I guess now is as good a time as any!
I will admit some of it is a little strange, and my husband doesn’t totally get it. He also keeps asking me, “why, why, why???” Upon which I reply with this, “Sheesh…read the book already! Then you’ll get why.”
But his point is valid and the question is important. So, why? I’m still figuring some of that out, but I do know this, when I can go through my closet and pull out approximately 10 items still with sale tags on them, it’s time to ask why. When week by week we throw hoards of food in the garbage without batting an eye, it’s time to ask why. When every day I feel maxed out and tired beyond reprieve, its time to ask why. When I don’t understand how a two income family still feels occasionally strapped, it’s time to ask why. When time spent on my devices starts to rob me of real life interactions, its time to ask why. When our adequately spacious home that has more than enough room to house 5 people is still constantly busting at the seams, it’s time to ask why. When I know we have enough, but still want more, and my giving has turned conditional, its time to ask why. And when I truly desire to live a more spirit filled life but keep engaging in habits that hinder me, it’s time to ask why.
And then once the whys have stopped being asked, it’s time to move.
I’m on the move…slowly and flawed…but moving.