I keep hearing about the book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess,” by Jen Hatmaker. I have never read a book by her, but I am an avid blog reader and think she is awesome writer and seems like an awesome person. So I was really excited when I heard she just came out with a book. I downloaded the sample on my kindle and started skimming thru the table of contents. Apparently, this is a book about how for 7 months her and her family gave up different things each month and lived more simply.
After skimming through it, I honestly began to think; this stuff does not apply to me. I mean, I just moved to India for crying out loud. I sold almost everything I own, I own about seven pairs of cloths, we pretty much eat the same seven foods over and over, next month we won’t have internet in our home, ect. I even told Ryan this would be a good book for people in America that live in excess and are super materialistic. I had the total attitude that those people need to work through their materialism, but I most definitely had it figured out. I mean just look at me! Uggghhh
Then I read another blog about the book, and God began to slowly melt away at my arrogance. Ugggghhhh, that pride/self-righteousness stuff is disgusting.
Yes, I did chose to move to India and I knew that giving up some things would be a part of that. But, most of the things that Jen addresses in the book (or at least in the table of contents) are not things that I made a conscious effort to give up. Yeah, they are gone, but because they have to be gone because of where we live, not because of a choice we made to give them up. On the outside I look good, but on the inside I didn’t let God change my heart and I didn’t take any time to think about how all these changes are affecting my heart. It’s such a gross temptation to want to look good on the outside while your inside has not changed at all. Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside may be clean.” Ugghh, Jesus was not playing around when he talked about these things.
Saying all this, I don’t think the purpose of living simply is to deny your self of things you would enjoy or be a martyr of sorts. I strongly believe in the discipline of celebration and parties and living life to the fullest. Jesus also talked a lot about food and feasts and great things happening around tables full of the finest foods. It is just that somehow in living simply now, it gives us the opportunity to help others to live more fully and love more truly. Our simplicity in the present helps others and ourselves experience a taste of the great feast that Jesus will bring in the future. I don’t really know how or why it works like this, but I am convinced it is true.
All that to say, I am going to read the book and pray that God changes my heart and helps me look into those deep places in my heart. I also pray that I do not desire to live simply for the applause of man, but instead for the kingdom of God to be evident and expanding in my life.