Love God. Love People.
The second week of the contentment challenge has brought more laughter, more tears, and more unfiltered glimpses into the life of consumerism that I have quite literally bought into for years. This year, 2016, I have read a book a week. Being out of school truly has its perks and has allowed me to delve into one of my biggest hobbies at a more frequent rate, pleasure reading. When I began preparing my heart for these 90 days of rest from spending, I immediately stocked up on books that would challenge me, pull on my heart-strings, and make me realize why I am doing this. Last week, I read a novel and it was fantastic (read my previous post-week one-to learn about it). However, this week I chose to read 7- an experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker. Over the course of seven months Jen and her family rebelled against our wasteful, rich culture and chose to focus on seven different topics: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste and stress. While this may seem drastic and eccentric to some, I found this life of reduction just what Jesus calls us to do as His church.
As with my own journey away from mindless spending, 7 highlights the need for fasting and abstinence in order to “summon God’s movement.” So, yes, this challenge does make me uncomfortable at times, but it is making room for God to move and work in me and in my heart. Spending, possessions, and clothes struck a cord within me and made me think of my habits just a mere two weeks ago. If I am to be a Christian and seek His kingdom above all else, I should resist conforming to this world (Romans 12:2). I wish that is what I could say I have been doing. I was absolutely disgusted to read how true this was of my own life:
“With my genuine needs met but so many dollars yet unspent, shopping as become a stronger marker of freedom than voting, and what we spend in that mall matters more than what we’re accomplishing together as the church. I am part of this problem, a contributing member of inequality. Every time I buy another shirt I don’t need or a seventh pair of shoes…I redirect my powerful dollar to the pockets of consumerism, fueling my own greed and widening the gap. Why? Because I like it. Because those are cute. Because I want that.”
Wow. My decisions have been so careless. I have easily swiped my credit card for a dress that I bought for no reason at all, the hat that I had to have simply because it was popular on Instagram, or the online shopping I have done out of sheer boredom.
Lord, strip me of myself
This second week has been real, raw, and beautiful. I was able to confront Target for the first time, simply for a Valentine’s card. I did not think I could face the enticing allure that dollar section was sending to me or bypass the discounted Valentine decorations or sweets. But I did. All in all, it was a victory in and of itself. This week also brought my first gifts of the contentment challenge. My sweet boyfriend absolutely blew my expectations out of the water by having my favorite flowers delivered, adding to my mug collection, and treating me with an awesome hat (in picture) and a super FUN day in Nashville.
In Nashville we visited a local coffee shop, Barista Parlor, where I got a Bourbon Vanilla Latte and Cole, an iced mocha. This was SUCH a treat for me, being I have eaten mostly all my meals at home for the past two weeks and have abstained from the delicious flavor of espresso and steamed milk.
We then had lunch at a local burger joint on 12South, Burger Up! I had the turkey burger with avocado and sweet potato fries; it was most likely the best thing that has graced my taste buds. Although it was 25 degrees and we missed seeing Reese FREAKING Witherspoon by ten minutes right down the road, it was such a fun and relaxing day with my best friend in my favorite city.
Overall, this second week has been freezing, food-filled (let me know if you want a KILLER recipe for Fajitas!), and fun. I can say that I have never cut up more veggies in my life, ingested more smoothies, or been a bigger fan of avocados than I have this week (I probably consumed 5-6..) and to round it all off, I GOT INTO SEMINARY. Woot.
So three cheers to WEEK #2! Onto Week 3 🙂
Don’t forget to check out 7, By Jen Hatmaker
[Here is all the foods I have made by MYSELF within this past week. Enjoy]