Last year, I went to listen to Jen Hatmaker speak at a local church. I’ve followed her blog and was very excited about the opportunity to hear her teach and speak. While there, I purchased the book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. For one month, Jen took an area of excess in her life and drastically simplified it. She did this seven times: food, clothes, shopping, media, possessions, stress, and waste. In the first month, she limited herself to 7 foods (and only water to drink); the second, only 7 articles of clothing.
It’s been a year, and I still haven’t read the book.
Why? Because I knew it would convict me. I didn’t want to just read it like a novel and set it aside. I wanted to experience it. And so it sat on my bookshelf…until last week.
And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NRSV)
Six friends are embarking on this experiment with me. We are reading and participating together over Lent. Instead of taking each area for a month, we are doing one a week over the seven weeks of Lent.
Last week we began with food. On Sunday we met – over water since our week begins on Sunday – to discuss our expectations for this experience and what are 7 foods are going to be. As I deciding what to pick as my 7 foods, I realized I was trying to make it easy. I really like my smoothie for breakfast and wanted to keep that. While I simplified it to three ingredients (spinach, yogurt and bananas), this is almost 50% of my options for the week. As I was thinking about the other four, I found myself trying to figure out how to get a treat in there. Sweet potatoes may be it.
We are only doing each 7 for a week and I’ve already heard several times the comment, “I can do anything for a week.” I’m wondering if that might be a problem. I probably can do just about anything for a week.
Already, I feel like I have the wrong attitude going into this. The goal was to simplify – not find foods that wouldn’t be a sacrifice. Of course not being able to eat whatever I want whenever I want is going to be difficult. The other attitude issue I’m having is whether I will lose weight over the next week. It seems I would have to with no sugar and no alcohol. This is a problem I have with fasting as well. I would fast more often except for the weight loss that comes with it. I don’t want this to be about my self-image. Will I be happy with weight loss? Yes, but this isn’t my purpose for this, and I don’t want it to be my focus or goal.
Here are my 7 foods:
- Vanilla Yogurt
- Sweet Potatoes
Let 7 commence!
If I participate with gratitude, why should I be blamed for food I thank God for? So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you should do it all for God’s glory. – 1 Corinthians 10:30-31 (CEB)