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Tag Archives: Seven Sacred Pauses
A couple months ago, I mentioned to my Bible study girls that I was feeling convicted about finding a way to live within our family’s means. We had been struggling with our budget, and I was trying to find ways to keep up with our spending, when all of a sudden it dawned on me that I was going about things all wrong. I really felt like I needed to learn to live with what we had before I started trying to make more money so we could spend more.
Our fearless leader Lauren recommended I read Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” According to her website, “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.” It was a great book, especially since Jen Hatmaker is absolutely hilarious and completely truthful about her triumphs and struggles during the experiment. But she also weaves in a lot of great observations and research about the excess that most of us live with.
She eats only seven foods for an entire month, gives away seven things a day for a month, spends money at only seven establishments, does seven things to minimize waste, wears only seven pieces of clothing, cuts out all media, and observes the seven sacred pauses for the last month. Some months are easier than others, but all of them are transformative for her family in one way or another.
I know you might think I’m crazy, but I sort of want to do it. I’m at this place where I’m sick of all the stuff around me, but I’m not bold enough to just give it all away or get rid of all my electronics and start living off the land. I don’t think that’s realistic for me, either. But I do see something appealing about intentionally taking time away from certain excesses in my life and giving myself the time and space to evaluate what can stay and what needs to go.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what is going on around me, to live my life as a reaction to what’s happening to me rather than being intentional about the way I live. Every once in a while I stop and think to myself, “how did I get here?” My life is too busy, my house is too cluttered, my budget is shot and I’m a ball of stress.
Especially with spending, it’s easy to quickly pick something up off of the shelf at the grocery or click on something on Amazon before really evaluating whether I need it. The more I’ve tried to budget, the more I’ve realized that being intentional is absolutely necessary. Even stopping to think for one second, “do I really need this?” can make such a huge difference. And I rarely do it.
There are so many things in my life I do without thinking, without evaluating why I do them or whether I even should be doing them. I just do something because I’ve always done it, or because somewhere along the way someone told me I should do it, or because well, everyone else does it, so shouldn’t I? And I don’t want to live my life like that. I don’t think I’m called as a Christian to live my life like that.
The Bible makes it clear that we are called, as followers of Christ, to live intentionally. We are called to do things that don’t just come naturally to us. We are called to love God and love others, to live holy lives and work toward sanctification. All of these require a certain discipline—an ability to look at something and say “this is something that is good for me” or “this is something that is bad for me.” More often than not, it’s the little things that keep me from living the way I want to live, the things that easily go unnoticed or seem inconsequential. The devil is in the details, as they say.
So I’m actually considering an abridged version of Jen Hatmaker’s experiment. It could be a great opportunity to take an intentional look at a lot of the little things that characterize my life. Lauren has done it before and said she would do it again with me, so I’ll be sure to let you know if we end up doing it. I think it could be an eye opening experience.