Friday, April 19, 2013
My Response to 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
Many of my friends know that over the past few weeks I've been reading the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It's no great literary work, but I do find that it demands a response. But how should I begin to change my life in ways that eliminate excess for the glory of God and the benefit of other people. There are many ways in which we live to great excess that hinders our worship and our service. I want to address 3 main areas of my life in the coming months: clothes, service and entertainment.
I began with clothes. As an experiment, I tried to breakdown my basic wardrobe needs: everyday, work, workout, nicer, and pajamas. Here's what I ended up with:
It's over 20 items (including 3 pants, 6 basic tops, 6 layers/cardigans/sweaters, and 1 dress plus workout gear) which still seems a bit excessive but I'm not trying to be ascetic. Instead I'm trying to see where excess is pinning me down. In fact here is what I've eliminated:
It's over 100 items! So I'm experimenting with roughly 15% of my usually wardrobe.
My goals with this reduction are: to see how more items complicate my life rather than freeing me, to have a fresh perspective on which item I can give away, and to only keep those few items that work, look good and are functional.
There are spiritual implications here. I am so blessed to have these clothes. Clothes should serve as a means of warmth, modesty, and attractiveness. They should not be a source of stress or a balm for the soul. I feel that God will use this intentional reduction in clothes to lead me in new directions. The first step of faith in taming my surroundings.
That may sound ridiculous to you. Why would God care about my wardrobe? But I see it as a gate into my heart and a means by which to increase my longing to serve others in the community, non just through my bounty (i.e. giving away my belongings) but also through my hospitality (i.e. less stuff = easier house to clean, therefore more time to serve).
So that's my prayer:
O Lord, please use this little experiment as a seed planted in faith. Please grow in me a thankful, serving heart. Help me to live more simply that I might live more abundantly. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit who will empower me to cling to the cross when I'd rather avoid confronting my sin. Thank you for this opportunity to fight complacency. In Jesus' name. Amen.