Friday, June 3, 2016

Letting Go of Excess: 7 Experiment Intro Part 1



Recently my mother along with the ladies of her church made the decision to challenge them selves by going through the 7 Experiment. This is a book turned Bible study written by blogger, author, and pastor's wife Jen Hatmaker The study takes you on a journey of breaking away from the bondage of excess.

Lately, I have been really struggling with the feeling of just having too much. From too much information instantly to way to many physical possessions, I feel as if i am busting out of all my seams. I have started on the journey by decluttering my home but I still feel like its just not enough. When my mom recommended going through the 7 Experiment study I decided that it just might be the think I need the most right now.

So here I go.

The first week is the Intro. Setting the scene for the purpose behind the project and opening you eyes to all the junk you have piling up in your life. The first "reflection" question of many is:
"Good Reader, what have you wished you could 'just have' lately?
The answer to this question is....so many things.

New clothes, meals I don't have to cook, supplies for projects I want to complete, and the new home school curriculum that I don't need until the fall are just a few.

From there Jen goes on to highlight that no where does "being rich" and "having stuff"come out smelling like roses in the Bible. In facet, in Matthew 19:16-22 we find out being rich makes things very hard when striving to follow Christ.


Jen then asks
 "What have the residents (the lazy, apathetic, and entitled voices) in your brain always told you about what you own? 
Let me tell you, I have always believed that I have just what I need. I am not one to be extravagant, I mean, we are in Seminary for goodness sake. We don't go out and flaunt our money around and we certainly don't have the best and brightest of things in the world.

And then those "intruders' began to sneak in and question all that I believe about myself and my family. How are we prioritizing our finances? Do we really NEED all the stuff we have? How are you reaching out and providing for others that have less than you?

In the next section Jen talks about how she came to realize she is one of the "rich folks" that people talk about. As I read through I realized that, while we don't have nearly the lifestyle she and her family have we are not all that bad off. We have food in the pantry and fridge, we have a roof over our heads, and we have all the things we need to get by. So according to many standards in the world, yes we are rich.

The story in Matthew continues with Jesus telling his followers just how hard it is for a rich man to enter heaven.


The disciples were truly shocked at what Jesus said. Jesus went to the furthest extreme for them to understand this difficult task and they were indeed blown away. Did this mean on one would ever make it to heaven? 

So why are wealth and possessions such a bad thing? Are they a bad thing? The "churchy' answer is that you can't serve 2 masters. You can't hold on to your wealth and possessions with one hand and cling to the Lord with the other. It won't work. You have to jump in to one side or the other with both feet. Wealth is a distraction. It takes away from from the real need in life. How many times have we witnessed people throwing as much money at a problem as it takes just to make it go away? For that matter, how many times have I done that myself?. But the truth is the separation that we have from God can't be mended with money, possessions, or power. 

Taking stock in how we perceive our possessions and our wealth can be a very sobering exercise. Jesus made it clear that the people who build up their treasures here on Earth already have their reward. The question is where are you storing up your treasures?

This week I hope to spend extra time in prayer on this topic as I prepare myself to continue this experiment. 


Where are your treasures stored up?


8 comments:

  1. I haven't read this book yet and haven't heard as much about this as I have as the other one that refers to sparking joy. Thanks for making me think on the topic of excess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Caroline this is a great book! You should read it for sure:)

      Delete
  2. Such a good thought, I have a difficult time keeping and acquiring things I don't necessarily need.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hmmm I find my treasures can be stored up in my work and how well I am at it.

    ReplyDelete




  4. I loved Jen's book and it challenged me immensely. Not only am I removing my excess, I'm going through my mother's. I'm finding that harder. Your post encouraged me to keep at it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So our family is the product of this experiment. :) It is not easy, but boy does it change you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Really great post! An eye-opener. God tells us in the Bible that we have to hate our old life and the things in it in order to follow Him completely!
    www.thedivinepresence.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I read 7 about 2 years ago and was really convicted of so many areas of excess in our homes and life. Currently I'm reading Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup and it had been a really good practical resource to remove the excess from our lives,

    ReplyDelete