Friday, June 24, 2016

Letting Go of Excess: 7 Experiment Part 2


**This is taking more time that I realized it would! With life getting in the way I just haven't had the time to sit down and write out my thoughts like I had hoped I would. I am working on fixing that.**

Here we are time to dive into another week of Jen Hatmakers 7 Experiment.

A few weeks ago, I got half way through the Intro and I have really been looking at and evaluating how I perceive wealth over the last few days.

This week has taken a bit of a different direction. We are transitioning from the initial shock of realizing just how better off we really are in comparison to the world to more of the "how do we change" discussion.

Jen begins to talk about fasting.

Fasting can be defined as "abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance"
Fasting in the Bible happens a lot. Fasting generally took place for one of six reasons: Mourning, Inquiry, Repentance, Preparation, Crisis, and Worship. All of which were intended on shifting the focus off of self and on to God for a set period of time.

God talks a lot about fasting, but the important part isn't about the what the individual is giving up but the heart behind the why. Isaiah 58:3 points out that fasting was taking place for their own pleasure and glory and all the good things they were doing were smothered and ignored.

How many times have I done that? How often have I made a big deal about a sacrifice I am making "to better serve God" but really I am looking for the praise of man?

What a waste of mine and God's time!

Jesus then talks about the very same thing in Matthew telling the people not to overact when fasting but to go on about their normally scheduled routines with only the knowledge of the fasting between the individual and God.

So now for the me of it all:
"How do you feel about abstaining or fasting (from food or anything else)? How do you do with restraint on the whole?" *question for the reader on page 22

The answer to that question? To be honest, not so well. First of all I LOVE food. And I find it hard to really justify a reason to fast. (sad I know) Secondly, I HATE having to do different things for myself and the rest of my family. Since we have a 6 and 4 year old in the home fasting is not something the whole family can do. We really value family meal times so I don't push food fasting very often.

As for restraint as a whole, well I have to say I am not so good in this area either. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would have to say I fall in the 3 or 4 range when it comes to discipline and restraint. Part of this is because I just have no control. And part of it is because I don't like having to be the bad guy that says no all the time so I just don't.

And here we go! Time to get into the meat of the 7 Experiment: A Fast From Excess

"If our excess is at the root of the problem, lets fast't from it." Pg. 23
We are the rich, young rulers. While we sit in our air conditioned homes, cars, and buildings others are wondering where their next meal will come from or how they will provide for their families. We give to missions offerings, sponsor children we see on television or through programs on TV, and feel like we have contributed to the 'cause'. All the while we are wondering why we can't feel truly connect to God.

So thus the need to fast from excess. Over the next 16 weeks I will be journeying down a path of fasting in areas of food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress (ha). And I have to say that I am pretty excited about this process. I am really looking forward to the process of simplifying things so that I can really connect with my family as well as God more.

Jen concludes the intro lesson with reminding people that fasting for the wrong reasons is just simply narcissistic. She encourages the reader to have their ducks in a row so to speak and to get things in order before beginning on the journey. Lately, I have really been struggling with the "why" behind a lot of things in my life. What is the purpose for the turn of events that my husband and I keep finding ourselves mixed up in. What is God's plan in it all. So for the next 16 weeks that is going to be my focus as I embark on this journey. Searching for God's plan in the simple as I reduce the noise around me. I hope you will come along on this journey with me.

Next week we jump into week 2:Food. So have you ever fasted from any type of food? If so, what and why? Let me know in the comments.




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