When I find something I’m passionate about, or something I love, I can’t really ever go back–or forget. Over the past decade of my life I’ve had some moments where I felt like my heart was ripping in two. At the time I didn’t really know what to do, or how to process those moments. The great thing about life is we are always learning and always having new experiences. So over the last few years I have learned how to process the moments that were hard, heartbreaking and a few times joyful. I learned that I should take these things and let them shape me. I should learn from them, and feel hopeful instead of broken. I decided to use these lessons to help others. To encourage and offer hope to people who need their cup filled. Because I have always been moved by words, I decided the best way for me to give hope to others is through my own words. To share my life and my experience with others. To put myself out there and let my vulnerability help someone who may be struggling. So today marks a new chapter in my life. I will be blogging twice a week about my experiences, and in the process my prayer is that you will come back twice a week for a fresh dose of hope.
The best take away I’ve had from this learning curve is that you can’t add without taking away. We all have the same hours in the day, we all have a choice of what we will make of that time. As I was learning to let things go, I wasn’t always letting go of the things that were hard, it was the easy things. I know that to each person we have our unique “vices” that are things that we put before God. But that’s not what God wants. He wants us to let go and surrender the hardest parts of ourselves so that we are raw and open like the flesh and we have no choice but to cling to him.
When you realized this…you are wrecked. You can’t go back–you can’t forget. It becomes a passionate obsession that can never leave your mind. And when you have things like; slavery, starving children, war, poverty and fistulas on your mind it consumes you.
As I processed what I would do with these thoughts I kept feeling a strong urge to let go of things I was hiding under a bushel from God. “Stuff” like: clothes, shoes, purses, cars, junk, pillows, food, watches, decorations, electronics….excess. I started looking around at my life and seeing it from the perspective of someone who has nothing. And what I saw was shameful. I was ungrateful for almost every single thing in my life that God had blessed me with.
Words are the catalyst for most of the shifting that goes on in my heart. Somehow I have always had a strong passion for the written word, and because I love to read I started consuming books like they were air and the more I read the more convicted I felt. Most of these convictions came after reading Jen Hatmaker’s “7”. After reading I felt like I had to do SOMETHING IMMEDIATELY! I couldn’t even sleep at night. I needed to ACT NOW! (Friend you know that is the passionate irrational side of me that wants to sell everything I own to feed the poor starving children of the world. (I’m not dramatic or anything.) So instead of jumping on the proverbial bandwagon I decided I needed to pause, reflect, journal and find out what I could really do that would fit my talents (something that was also practical). It came around full circle. I could help with words of encouragement, words of hope and lifting up others in my own way. The sad part is that even though I’ve made strides to do better…I still can’t let go. I still put STUFF before God.
In my journey to offer hope, I realized that God is asking me to let go of this stuff. I have to surrender to him the stuff that is HARD. To turn over this leaf I will be blogging about the “7” project. My hope is that through this I will find a simpler life, and in the process share encouragement with you all! I hope you are buckled in…below I have listed some info to give you insight into “7”.
Here is the overview from JenHatmaker.com:
“American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.
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.
Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.”
A bible study and more info here.