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Seven by Jen Hatmaker

Since becoming a parent, I have noticed that I just don't have the time, space or mental capacity to deal with a lot of things.  And, yet, I have a lot of things - excess.  It's gotten to the point that I'm stressed about the clutter and storage of items in my home.  I'm frustrated that I never seem to have enough time for everything I would like to do.  And, all of this excess is straining relationships that are important to me.

It's not just the physical possessions that I have that are causing stress.  It's everything.  It's the things that get in the way: checking out Facebook, watching TV, doing chores, making decisions when the possibilities are endless, and so much more.

Then, this past September, I was invited to participate in a Bible Study with a local group of women (all from different churches and denominations).  During this time, we began reading and participating in Jen Hatmaker's book, Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.


 This study looks at seven different areas on each of our lives (food, clothing, possessions, spending, media, waste, and stress) and then has you participate in purging exercises in each of these areas.  And, while many of these exercises are extremely difficult, the result (at least for me) has been beyond my imagination.  Granted, I'm still not finished with the study (our group decided to lengthen it to cover the school year).

During the very first portion of the book, we looked at food.  Boy, oh, boy! This is an area very near and dear to my heart.  I love food!  So, when the study asked us to look at what and how much food we have - or are consuming - I thought it wasn't possible.  Ms. Hatmaker talks about her month of only eating seven foods, and I thought (no, knew) she was absolutely insane.  There was no way that I was going to do this...not even for a week.  But, the study gives you other options on getting rid of your excess in the area of food.  So, I chose another way: I would stop grocery shopping for one week.  After all, I have a gigantic pantry filled with food, as well as a loaded fridge and freezer (not just the one attached to the fridge, but also a separate one).

I have to admit, it wasn't hard to not go grocery shopping for a week.  I hardly made a dent in the food that I have in my home.  Except for needing milk, eggs, and bread (which I didn't have to bake myself) by the end of the week, I couldn't find anything that I truly needed to purchase from the grocery store.  It was not miraculous that I survived this week - it was one of the first signs of exactly how much excess I have allowed to take over my and my family's lives.


The study continued and we moved into other areas of excess with clothing and possessions (I'll talk about these in future blog posts), but my mind has begun to be transformed and recognize that so much of the frustrations I have throughout a day, week, month...are things directly related to the excess in my life.  The desire to have more is not something that is fulfilling my mind and soul.  In fact, it is doing quite the opposite.

I highly encourage anyone and everyone to check out Jen Hatmaker's book on excess.  Not only do I feel as though she and I are soulmates through our sarcasm and humor, but her words and outlook on life are truly a blessed.  I still won't be doing seven foods for a month, but I can't wait to dive deeper into the other areas that are wasting away in my life.

Check it out!

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