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Friday, February 27, 2015

7 Challenge for Lent: Week one-Food

I am re-reading the book on my phone!

Last fall, I read a book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  In the book, Jen breaks down 7 areas of her life that were in excess, and decided to take one month to focus on each one. The seven areas are: Food, Clothing, Media, Possessions, Waste, Spending and Stress. In each month, she chooses seven things to eat, or wear, or stores to buy, or ways to cut back. She began this book and "experiment" after she had some refugees in their home after Hurricane Ike. One child commented about how "rich" she was. She decided she had MORE than enough. She wanted to change. She came up with this idea as a result, and I really appreciated it!

Ms. Hatmaker's goal in 7 is to create space for God's kingdom to break through. In her Biblical research, she found that fasting was commanded or initiated during various circumstances, two of them being the reasons that the author chose to support her goal: Repentance-- to "repent of greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities and irresponsibility." (p. 18)  (There are many areas in my life that are out of control, and could use some adjusting.) Preparation-- My life is maybe half-over, I have lots of years ahead of me. I can influence my children and my family. I can be prepared for the future in my time of change and reconstruction.

The author's prayer (and mine too) is: "Jesus, may there be less of me and my junk, and more of YOU and your kingdom."

During Lent this year, I decided to take this challenge and do as Jen did in her book, focus on each area, but only for one week, instead of a month, as Mrs. Haymaker did. (Even though Lent is only 6 1/2 weeks long).

The first area that she focuses on is food.

Exceptions to this list: salt, pepper and coffee (for me anyway!)
This past week, I challenged myself to eat only 7 foods for the week. It has been a real challenge for me! I don't consider myself a "foodie" as Jen is, but I still found this week's challenge to be difficult for me. I ate the seven foods on my list for 7 days. It was a challenge to choose my seven foods. You don't think often about the food you eat, and how you could pare it down to less, until you do a challenge like this. I kind of enjoyed the simplicity of the diet, but there were times when it was really hard not to eat what the rest of my family was eating, (the kids can only eat chicken, potatoes and broccoli for dinner so many times without rebelling against it!)
This is what at least three of my dinners looked like...

But this challenge is not really about food. It is about becoming closer to God by eliminating excess in my life. I don't think I am an excessive eater, but after this week I felt like I was. I found myself craving different things, and being hungry, which is unusual for me on my usual diet. It was a time to focus on God, what he wants for me and the blessings He gives in the foods we eat often. I came to realize how blessed we are with the wide variety of foods we eat. Eating a simple diet was nice at times, but I am more than happy to get back to my usual diet!

Next week the challenge is about clothing-- to wear 7 items of clothing for one week (not including underwear, socks and a coat!) I'll tell you all about it in my blog post next week!

A few verses that I meditated on this week...

Luke 4:2
"...where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry."

Joel 2:12-13
“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

Matthew 6:25-27 
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (this is said by Jesus)

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