From the day I picked this book up until the day I put it down (which I think was about 3 days later 🙂 I was “in.” I have always been too into crap and collecting it. I think if we are really honest we all are. That darned sinful nature. We have closets full of clothes we don’t wear and piles of junk we don’t use anymore but just had to have, and spend tons of time online managing our image and comparing ourselves to others. If you look at our lives it would seem to an outsider we worship comfort and our image. Ouch!
So Jen took seven months, and focused on eliminating excess from seven different categories: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress (which is where the subtitle comes from: “An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess). I personally recommend everyone should read this book (and not because I get a cut, although Jen, can we make that happen?). But 1.) because she is hilarious and really, in the daily life of diaper changing, working, cleaning crunched up crackers out of the carpet, cooking, cleaning, and the daily grind who can not use a good laugh? 2.) she is a real chick struggling to live out this whole “die to self” thing and is real about how messy it gets. She makes me realize there is hope for even me; the Mama who not only doesn’t have “it” together but does not even know what “it” is most days. She is my kinfolk. My tribe.
I read somewhere that America is the land of “lifeless toil and useless consumption.” While I realize that is not true for everyone it hit home. But how much is enough? What responsibility do we have when we know how many people in the world suffer and struggle to provide basic needs for their families? I think we are often afraid to ask these questions because the answers require action not just talk. I have a new found appreciation for these questions after living in the developing world. I totally agreed with her assessment of American or Western culture being excessive in so many ways that are actually damaging the people we become and the children we raise. But I am not interested in just complaining about America. Believe me I also have a new appreciation for the options and choices bestowed upon me just because I was born here. But I am interested in questioning they “why.” And not just questioning it but doing something about it. In community. As I eluded to earlier I have been wanting to get together with other women trying to figure this out. Not because we all have to agree or to make one more thing to check off a list or a rule to follow but because we want to listen to the Lord and struggle with what we hear together. Recently I watched this documentary and a brave woman; who herself escaped a brothel and now fights for other young girls trapped in this horrible, dark place in Cambodia said something that stuck with me. She said “so many times you say I cannot do everything so I will do nothing.” May that never be said of me.
The community part is also because I know I am a cheater whose pants may be on fire if I do not have some accountability up in here. And because I have found most things of life are worth doing with others. Relationally. I am still trying to figure out and pray about how we should do this thang. I have talked with some of you ladies and am open to ideas. I am thinking a combo of meeting together at my place (for Chicago folks), prayer walks, a facebook group, a bi-weekly blog topic discussion…hmmmmm. What else?
So, who is in? Email me, call me, leave a comment and we shall embark to lay down more in order to live more abundantly.
Who wants to join the mutiny?