Wednesday, February 1, 2012

7 foods?

seriously? you want me to pick 7 foods? not 7 types of food? or as my cooking goddess friend suggested…7 restaurants ( that’ s my girl!) nope. 7 foods. for a whole month. this crazy idea came from a book that is rocking my world….

the premise  for the book is that we as americans have an excessive amount of stuff, food, waste, clothing, media and not enough God. at all. so the idea is to have less of ourselves and more of Christ….love.

next month a group of my crazy friends and i will be starting the “7” challenge. thank you jen hatmaker for helping us realize how much we need to take a good look in the mirror and realize how entitled we have all been living. and i am positive that i will be blogging about this journey along the way. in my angry no coffee voice. ( i can’t pick coffee as one of my foods, cause then i would have to pick creamer too.  and that’s just weird.)

my friend and fellow writer monica selby is sharing her experience with the first month of this book today. she is a radical follower of our King and loves to write and speak how this looks in her life. i am honored to have her join us here today….

With three boys in my house (plus a marathoner husband), food quickly disappears. The worst days are when the boys gulp down food without noticing it and cry for more. Finally, one night I snapped.

“Fellas, you have had breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner today. There are children right around the corner who have had nothing to eat today!”

Three sets of wide, disbelieving eyes. Then Big Boy spoke up:

“Why not, Mommy?”

Oh, boy. I hadn’t planned a lesson on poverty this particular Tuesday night, but as usual my mouth got me into trouble. Sighing, I closed my eyes and asked for wisdom.

“Well, because some kids’ mommies and daddies don’t have enough money to buy them food. So, they might go days without something to fill their bellies.”

More wide eyes as these young boys tried to fathom that, their own bellies poking out the ways kids’ do after eating.

“Well,” Big Boy finally said, nodding emphatically. “You need to buy them food, Mommy.”

Oh dear, if only it worked that way, right?

A few months after this first conversation (it became a recurring one) I bought Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. In a quest to pare down life, the Hatmakers identified seven areas of excess in their lives. They then spent a month on each area, reducing it to seven simple choices.

This book changed my perspective about so many things. I consider myself rather simple and minimalist. Yet, I often feel my heart beating after the things of this world, rather than the things of the Lord. As I approach my 30th birthday, the all-or-nothing, semi-crazy approach of this book appeals to me. Usually reserved about my projects, Hubby jumped in this one feet first. So we embarked on food month.

Seven foods: chicken, eggs, spinach, sweet potatoes, almonds, rice, and apples. Olive oil, salt, and pepper are allowed, but no other seasonings, sauces, or spices. (Disclaimer: because Husband is a marathoner, we added pasta, broccoli, and whole-wheat bread to his diet.) The children’s version of the “fast” is no restaurants for a month, not even Chik-fil-a.

We are three weeks in, and I must say, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever voluntarily done. By day two, I was choosing hunger over eating. The physical longing for sugar and red meat subsided by the end of week one, but by week two I was mostly bored.

I didn’t know radical could be boring. “Radical” is sexy, and sexy is decidedly NOT boring. Yet, not too long into our first experiment, and I was so bored it was hard to keep going.

During this month I read John Piper’s Hunger for God. In it he looks at fasting as a way to sharpen our desire for God.

“Fasting tests where the heart is. And when it reveals that the heart is with God and not the world, a mighty blow is struck against Satan. For then Satan does not have the foothold he would if our heart were in love with earthly things like bread.”

Every time I got close to ending our experiment early, this passage came to mind. Do I value God more than I value the things in which I find my identity? Good parenting, well-run home, writing career. These things matter to me, and they are gifts from God. But, do they matter to me more than God himself matters? Or, is it possible, I can trust God even when I am not good at life?

Abraham trusted God with his son. I can’t trust him with my performance in life? Even worse, I’ll choose disobedience only because obedience is boring?

I still don’t understand the mystical connection between fasting and a growing faith in Jesus. I have moments where I almost grasp it, but then it slides away again. However, I do understand that I needed this month. God didn’t need me to give up anything for Him; it doesn’t work that way. But, I needed to know that Satan does not have the foothold in my heart I often fear he does.

In a little over a week, we will end this first month of the 7 experiment. There’s more to come, but I can’t imagine it being this hard. And, to come full circle, we have accounted for all of our food expenditure this month and will write a check to a women and children’s shelter for the amount of money we saved. As my twins say, very sweetly, when we talk about this month,

“Mommy, God wants us to share.”

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