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seven.

I’m finally reading the book 7, An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.
In a nutshell, she identified 7 areas of excess in her life and set out to demolish
 the present day diseases of greed, materialism and indulgence.
Food.Clothes.Spending. Media. Possessions.Waste.Stress.
The journey doesn’t start for me in this book.
It started fourteen years ago when we went to India.  The brokenness and poverty wrecked me.
I never wanted to throw away leftovers again.  I never wanted to waste clean water again.
I never wanted to buy too much again or take for granted our many resources.
I made all kinds of vows to never be the same.
Here’s the naked truth.  I came home and slowly got sucked right back into a life of excess & waste.
{and by slowly, I mean as soon as I could get home to stand under a hot shower}
That’s what we do.  We’re imperfect and flawed and in constant need of rescue.
He frees us of our captivity and gives us a whole new way to think
and we thank him by wandering right back into it.

This journey with the Lord has produced more spiritual battles between my flesh and spirit
 than anything else in my life.
I looked at her book 6 months ago and had the audacity to justify why I didn’t need to read it.
we do our part.  we don’t have credit card debt.  we live in the smallest house in our neighborhood.
we don’t buy in excess for our children.  we love to give generously.  we only eat out once each week.
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!! 

 It’s so easy to justify my thoughts when I compare myself and our story
to our friends, family and neighbors who are so clearly in a higher socio-economic class than we are.
As long as I look at how they spend their money, I feel great about how we spend ours.
But when I stop and think about the homeless guy that I saw on Friday 
or the dirty family that I saw yesterday in Walmart, my heart becomes unsettled and uncomfortable.
All the sudden, I’m not okay with how we’re doing it.
When we hang out with people below our rung, as Jen puts it, we are forced to see our excess.
I have to admit, I don’t regularly hang out with people that challenge me in this way.
That needs to change.
In the meantime, I’m starting this next leg of my journey.
I’m not trying to earn my righteousness with God.
I’m not trying to be one of Jen Hatmaker’s groupies. 
I’m not trying to jump on a bandwagon with radicals.
And, I don’t claim to be some sort of expert on self-denial and sacrificial living.
puh lease.  did you see those thoughts I tried to justify 6 months ago?
It’s really as simple as this::
I get easily sucked into idolatry in many areas of my life.
all 7 of these areas that Jen writes about and more.
This is my lame attempt to continue fixing my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.
I’m tired of the excess in every single area of my life.
I want to simplify….to clean out…to have less.
And, I’m starting with food this month. gulp.
Having said all of this…the fact that I get 7 choices of foods this month is still pretty ridiculous.
And, I’m not even following the whole 7 foods thing exactly like she did!
I’ll still complain and gripe and cry and whine for the whole month, I’m sure.
{Even though there are people in all parts of the world who are lucky just to get one food each day.}

What’s my goal at the end of this?
I’m hoping I find joy in less.
I’m hoping another layer of the entitlement and materialism and greed and indulgence is peeled away.
Jesus, take the wheel.

{thankful for}
474. a rainy morning.
475. folded laundry.
476. a man-date for my husband.
477. catch up calls with friends.
478. a spiritual marker moment for luke today.
479. brotherly love underneath all the quarrels and fights and punches and kicks.

Erin - Tara, your longing for Jesus is inspiring and beautiful.

maggie@septemberrust - thank you for sharing….sometimes all the stuff and excess just take time away from focusing on what really matters, our relationship with him. i have got to read this book.

Brooke - I was ripped to shreds by this book. L-O-V-E-D every page of it. In fact, on VACATION-don’t judge ;)- last week, we were sitting in a fancy restaurant and I looked over at my sister and said, “I can’t go anywhere like this anymore without thinking of those who don’t even know where their next meal is coming from.” The thing is, I just don’t know exactly what to do with it. I don’t think God means for us to feel guilty every time we indulge in the slightest, but I don’t quite know how to balance the privileges He has blessed me with and the guilt that I have for getting a pedicure twice a year. Maybe the answer is to give to others and constantly be THANKFUL for what He has given. ?? I know I’m rambling…. I recently purchased One Thousand Gifts and plan to start it soon. Maybe it will help answer some questions. Until then, I’m just another gal trying to make it in this ridiculous country of luxury…

Farmgirl Paints - I just had this conversation with a friend today. She just got back from a trip to Kenya. Having those same hard adjustments… Feeling guilty for the excess that as Americans is all we know. And yet it comes down basically to where we are born. I’ve got this book…read almost all of it. Lot to chew.

GLENDA CHILDERS - Beautifully written words that reveal what you are learning. I would love to hear more as you process all of this.

Fondly,
Glenda

Cat - Read the book too and it leveled me! LEVELED me! You say it so beautifully and I am so pumped you’re actually DOING it. I didn’t do it just like she describes in the book. I feel like such a sham! But, the whole process did so much to me and I grew so much through it. I’ll be praying for you and this journey! I’m starting a little journey myself tomorrow. :) Blessings, cat

Laura at By the Bushel - oh my. yes. thankyou Tara. nailed it. yet again. ‘wasting clean water’. ‘leftovers’. …. the balance of showing my kids love, vs. teaching them excessive indulgence swallows me up in shame. yucky stinky shame.
Yes, Jesus, take the wheel.
love you chickie.

Katie - now I’m curious! Picking up this book this weekend :)

hodgepodge - I am half way through this book. Amazing. I hunger for more of Jesus and this simplistic lifestyle. I so want to make a tremendous difference with my life, for that is why I am here. Praying that God will show me how to be more useful to others. On another note, I just want to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. You are such an inspiration! Good luck with your journey and thanks for sharing.
Laura : )

Lemonade Makin' Mama - I love your sweet heart. I am working on all of this my own self. And actually in very similar ways. (THough I can’t seem to do anything with food where I don’t somehow turn it into a weight loss thing. I think I might be crazy or something… it’s ridiculous.) I applaud you and I join you! I have been so convicted lately about the material possessions. If I’m not using them for God’s glory, then I’m using them for mine… oh if only I could wrap my little brain around that one!!

Love you girly.

Lemonade Makin' Mama - Oh and I’m loving the sweet little changes I’m seeing over here….

:)

Kim - It’s a wake-up call we all need to hear. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Funny thing is, I’ll probably just get it through an App – a clear sign that I definitely need to read it.

Cheryl - I found your blog by way of a linky party. I am glad I did. I really like these posts you do that make us think.
I have been trying to simplify, but like you that is not enough. We need to be doing what Jesus did. He was out there with the not so popular people want to be around.
Thanks for sharing your heart and giving us something to chew on and challenge us.

LLH Designs - Amen to finding joy in less, my friend. AMEN. Bring it on. Dig deep into this journey and keep sharing it. I need to hear it. And need to read this book! xoxo!

Lauren @ mercy(INK) - Thanks so much for your heart and honesty: I identify with EVERY word and have walked the same tension between giving it all up and living simply to wanting more and having excess. Sacrifice hurts… but then it blesses… others AND us. So grateful to have found your blog today! I would so blessed to have you link up your post at http://www.mercyinkblog.com for our weekly Heart&Home link up (Tues am- Sun pm)

blessings!
lauren
mercyINK

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