I recently read Jen Hatmaker's book, Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. I hesitate to "go live" with the fact I read it because I'm still struggling with what it means for me and for my family.
If you don't know anything about the book, here is a sentence from the book description on Amazon: 7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. Somehow my guess is that this isn't a book that makes everyone think, "Oh, I want to read THAT!" It's a tough (real) topic to say the least, but God brought it to my attention more than once, so I took the plunge and read it....and I'm glad I did. Jen writes in such a way that you're laughing at the same time you're convicted.
And I definitely read it feeling convicted--and am still trying to figure it all out. For me (at least as of today), I don't feel like I'm supposed to do the whole 7 month experiment, but I do feel that there are changes which need to be made and some areas that I want to work on. If you live in America like me, then you are living in a world of wealth and excess. It is difficult not to be consumed by consumerism. All around us is stuff, and that stuff threatens to overtake us if we're not careful.
God is clear in the Word that we are not to love money (I Timothy 6:10, Hebrews 13:5), but it's easy for that to get a little gray when it comes to our stuff. I mean honestly, it's hard (even for those of us who don't like to shop!) not to enjoy new stuff. It's tempting to want the new shoes, the new bag, the new dress, the new whatever....And sometimes that's okay....And sometimes, in my opinion anyway, it's not. God does not want us to be consumed with things. He desires for us--commands us even--to love Him and to love each other. He doesn't tell us to love the things that we will throw out next season. He wants us to invest in things that are eternal.
So, how do we do that? How do we keep from being consumed with all the excess? How do we keep from loving money (and all the things that money can buy)? I don't think there's a perfect answer. But I know we have to give it to God. We have to seek His Truth and His desire for us. We have to be willing to lay it at His feet and listen to (and obey!) what He says. And we have to be aware....We can't hide and pretend it isn't a problem. Materialism is all around us, and we need to face it head on. And maybe, if you're brave, you can pick up a copy of Seven for yourself and see if the Lord is calling you to take part in the experimental mutiny, too.
*And if you read it (or already have), I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as well....