Saturday, May 26, 2012

7 months of radical reduction: Day Seven

One week down. Three to go. I wouldn't say this first week has been t-o-o hard or frustrating, but simply inconvenient. In our society, social gatherings are almost always centered around food. We gather with friends and family over lunch or dinner. We meet for coffee. We have cook-outs. We go to parties, showers, and weddings. Where people are gathered, there is typically food, especially here in the south. This month alone, I will take part in almost every single one of these events. It is so much more convenient to indulge in it all. Who wants to wait, go home, and cook just to eat the usual?  

I thought it would be hard to be around everyone else enjoying delicious food while I eat the same old food, but relying on God and keeping my mind on higher things has been such a blessing. I'm sure I've said this, but I really like food. I mean I r-e-a-l-l-y like food. Until 7 days ago, I looked forward to each meal of the day, thinking about the delicious food my body will gladly consume. Now, I don't really think about my upcoming meals since I know exactly what it will consist of and how it will taste. This is actually a good thing since it frees my mind up to think of other things. I do still enjoy my 7 foods, but I certainly look forward to a variety again and oh the herbs and spices I intend to enjoy...

Today was a bit challenging, but with challenge comes reliance on God and that is a beautiful thing. The bit of friction that comes with discipline and sacrifice is exactly what I need. It brings me to a place where I fully rely on God and focus on the important stuff, not all of the minor junk (+ each excuse) that creeps into my days. We (the hubby and I) went to the farmer's market today, which is definitely a GREAT place to go on a beautiful Saturday. But talk about temptation...peaches, strawberries, fresh-squeezed lemonade, peanuts, baked goods, ice cream, and did I say peaches. Oh they smelled so good. NONE of these items are on the approved list. We were there with my family, who were enjoying the treasures that the farmer's market has to offer. They even offered to share, forgetting about our 7 foods. I politely declined and rested in the joy of being with family. My brother and sister-in-law were there too, which made it extra sweet. 

In the evening we went to a dear friend's hs graduation, where the speaker shared 1 Tim. 6:6 - "But godliness with contentment is great gain." What a great message...still chewing on that one. We then joined her family out for dinner at one of our favorite mexican restaurants. One of my absolute all-time favorite foods is chips and salsa. Since high school that has been on the top of the snack list. It is why the hubby and  I even go to mexican restaurants. Sad news: chips and salsa are not 7 approved. I sent out a text to friends going through the 7 journey with me and informed them of my impending struggle and welcomed any encouragement. My friends rock. Their comments were great. I leaned on God and simply enjoyed the company, who are quite amazing people. It was such a blessing to eat and fellowship with them. God is so good.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

7 months of radical reduction: Day Four

I'm four days into 7 months of radical reduction and my eyes have already been opened. 

The fact that it took days to develop and finalize my list of 7 foods shows that I have s-o-o much around me. It was pretty hard to come up with only 7 foods, especially for someone like me who really, I mean really, likes food. a lot. There are very few things that I don't eat. And even then I don't hate it. I'd just prefer other things. 

In this society I'm not considered filthy rich, yet I have an abundance of food and things surrounding me each day, which leads me to my next point. Being limited to 7 foods has opened my eyes to (1) my eating habits (2) just how much food is at my fingertips each and every day. 

Already, 4 days into it, this month has made me thankful for all the little bits of food and generosity that is sent my way every single day. On the first day, I sat watching family eat pizza and ice cream cake celebrating birthdays (of course I enjoyed their company and didn't sit their drooling). On the same day, I stood around yummy food (just looking, not tasting) and enjoyed watching a sweet friend open up presents in honor of her sweet baby boy who will grace us with his presence any day now. On the second day, left and right I was offered goodies and snacks from coworkers. Let me tell you, there is always food in the work room and it is not always easy to turn down. Cream cheese danish...yum (just 24 days). I realize how often I can grab a little bite to eat and not think about it. After these 4 weeks I hope to continue the routine of saying no to excess food (not all of it, but most, ha). However, I do plan on having a big cup of coffee in 24 days. Is it weird that I come home everyday and smother my nose into a bag of coffee beans? I really miss coffee. 

Having to explain why I can't eat all the things offered to me has brought on several responses:
(1) Really!? That sounds really can you do that?
(2) Whoa. That sounds crazy (followed by awkward silences and attempts to say something positive).
(3) Wow! That sounds really rewarding. Keep me updated. I might need to try that out! 

I'm trying to keep in mind what Jen Hatmaker said: "this is suppose to be uncomfortable and inconvenient...because the discomfort creates space for the Holy Spirit to move." 

I haven't been too terribly uncomfortable and just a bit inconvenienced, but I'm sure there is much more to come. I pray that I turn to God more and more in those moments, praying for what is on my heart and thanking Him for all that I have. Unlike many around the world, I get to return to a variety of food before too long. I don't want to take that for granted. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our journey of 7 begins...

Today I began a journey that fills me with excitement while also filling me with anxiety and fear. I will reduce + simplify for 7 months. Yes, 7 months of purging excess. 

Recently a friend of mine approached me about embarking on a challenging 7 month experience. I know...seems radical. But sometimes radical is exactly what we need. The idea for this fast comes from the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker. Jen writes about how she is overwhelmed by the amount of excess in her life and how she decided to do something about it. She shares her family's experience battling against excess, specifically in 7 areas: food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress.

Each month she takes on one of these areas and fights against excess, ridding of all the mess that distracts her from God and from the point of our lives here, in this crazy world. She desired more of God and f-a-r less of herself.  

We have so much excess in our lives. I know I do, without a doubt. However, when I was asked to consider this journey...I'll be honest...I didn't exactly jump up and down screaming, "YES!" but I simply thought about it. I thought about it for days and days. As usual, there were many thoughts and emotions swimming around in my mind: oh, how inspiring. how daring, but what a challenge. wow, convicting, for sure. scary, oh so scary. can you say no to something like that? Ridding of junk in exchange for more of God, more room for the Holy Spirit to move. I was ALL in. 

So here I am embarking on this journey with some dear friends and pretty amazing people, I might add. We will encourage each other, pray for each other, and consult with each other on any gray areas.

Kirstin Cassell, thank you for being in my life and bringing all of this to my attention. I am so thrilled to start living with more simplicity and sacrifice. 

I intend to use this space to document my experiences during this journey. I so desperately desire to rid of distractions, to simplify, and to seek God more and more. More of Him and f-a-r less of me!

For the next 4 weeks I will be sticking with:
chicken, cheese, bread, eggs, apples, spinach, quinoa (keen-wah, for those of you, like me, who were unsure on exactly how to pronounce this) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Diving in

I've been throwing around the idea of a blog for quite some time now. A place to write out my thoughts and feelings. All of it being in one place, easy to refer back to. I am not much of a witty, entertaining writer and the idea of others having access to my writing...yikes. However, I've decided to swallow my pride and dive right on in.

Now is the time. Right before I embark on a 7 month fasting journey (more on that later). I'm thrilled to finally document all of the things that swim around in this crazy head of mine: my experiences. my struggles. my life.