Sunday, July 8, 2012

Month One- Possessions. Getting rid of the excess.

 “Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer.”- Jen Hatmaker -7

We are 8 days into our first month of "fasting from excess"- our first month being possessions.
I am seeing things completely different these days. 
The toys, the extra mugs in our cupboards, the plethora of blankets that sit in the closet, the clothes I may or may not ever wear again and the shoes that I haven't worn in 5 years. 
We have had two garage sales in the last year and made probably 6 trips to Salvation Army to donate things, and yet I am still filling bags. It makes my stomach turn.

Why all the stuff? I watch gifts get open and money thrown at items that are really not necessary and I see it differently. I see that money feeding a child, adopting an orphan, clothing a baby, rescuing a Mama, building a well. Why do we need all this stuff? What importance is there on it? Are my kids really better off having so many items to play with, and all the little electronics that are in right now? I think not. 

This month we are "purging" our possessions. In Jen's book she gave away 7 items a day for the entire month. We, instead, are using the book Organized Simplicity to purge with and then using Jen's framework of not just donating it to Goodwill or whatever, but seeking a need intentionally. Calling the local homeless teen house and seeing what they need, the local schools, the battered women's home, etc. We aren't just mindlessly dropping it off somewhere, because there is no personal connection with that. We are being intentional about it, intentional purging and intentional living. Isn't' that what life is supposed to be? Intentional?

Since we kicked off our 7 months we've had some rough days. We've had pink eye, my Grandfather passing, and numerous moments of impatience in our house. Our twins suddenly became climbers and dangerous climbers at that, and you cannot leave them for even one second. It's pretty obvious to me why our month has already brought it's challenges and it's reassuring to know we are doing this right. 

Like I said before, it's not a program or an experiment for the sake of an experiment. It's about getting rid of the excess and clearing way for Him to move in our lives. 

While I'm clearing out my kitchen, my bedroom and kids rooms I am also trying to clean out what's inside. The excess stuff I am hanging onto in my heart. My wounded spirit at a friendship gone bad, my unforgiving heart that can't seem to forget the numerous jabs, my selfish pride, my impatience, my attitude in general. 
It's mucking up my heart, just like the stuff that collects dust in my house is mucking up our lives. 

I used to wander Target and window shop for all the things I'd love to have, the home decor, the fun kitchen gadgets, the new rugs or frames or vases. Now I just see stuff. It's nice, and looks fun, but something has changed in me. My perspective is skewed. No, my perspective was skewed, now it is getting back to where it was supposed to be. Stuff that costs money, and we'd rather spend my money elsewhere. 

Does that mean we will never buy another toy, or pair of shoes, or do something fun and go on vacations? No, that's not the point. The point is the frivolousness with which we spend our money has got to be reigned in and we have got to refocus our purpose. We have got to become a people more concerned with giving than getting, and we have got to teach our children this. 

Our kids will come with us when we take our places to donate them. Our kids will see the faces of the people we are giving to. This is a perfect time to teach, the sacrifice of giving some of your things to others, and the joy with which they receive them and then the joy you get while watching them. It's a no-lose situation.

Jesus identified an indivisible link between the heart and money. And here's what it comes down to: you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. And the more you love, the more you give. It's not complicated. If you want a heart for missions, for example, then give to missions. If you want a bigger heart, give more. –Mark Batterson, Primal

One of the turning points of my life came the day I stopped setting income goals and started setting giving goals… Making money is the way you make a living and giving it away is the way you make a life. –Mark Batterson, Primal

We stand at the intersection of extreme privilege and extreme poverty, and we have a question to answer: Do I care? Am I moved by the suffering of all nations? Am I even concerned about the homeless guy on the corner? Am I willing to take the Bible at face value and concur that God is obsessed with social justice? I won’t answer one day for how the U.S. government spent billions of dollars on the war in Iraq ($601 billion and counting when $9 billion would solve the planet’s water crisis), nor will I get the credit for the general philanthropy of others. It will come down to what I did...- Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted

These are just a few areas that you can give in, that have immediate and eternal impact. $38 dollars a month is just over $1.20 a day and that is less than what you spend on your Starbucks:

**$30 a month allows these kids to attend school for an entire year, this helps pay for books, lodging, meals and medicine. 

**$38 a month provides medicine, meals, support from a local church, educational opportunities and more

**Three dollars. It isn't much in today's world. You can buy a couple of candy bars or a large drink. Three dollars just doesn't go very far. Unless you add your $3 to my $3 and I add mine to her $3 and she adds hers to theirs...before you know it, $3 becomes a lot.
Three dollars.
On the Third of each month.
To remember the Three girls raped every 45 minutes.

**Give what you can to help build wells in South Sudan, where clean water is a in desperate need. 


  1. That first quote from Mark Batterson - ugh - it gets me! Powerful.

  2. What a wonderful reminder. Perspective is everything. We could all use a little perspective...and a lot less "stuff"...

  3. I love this post, it reminds of my time in South Africa and how the people are incredibly grateful with nothing.. I need to read this book.