Ready? Set? Go.
No, really. GO. Come on. Please? You can do this. Go.
We are diving head-first into The 7 Experiment. I’m pretty sure it’s going to kick my butt.
I read the book last year after Interrupted hung me upside down and lashed me with a wet noodle. Remember the SAT?
Interrupted : electric shock :: 7 : _____.
D. a spritely walk through a meadow of wildflowers
E. All of the above
But it’s a good, productive, healthy kind of pain—one that opens up a space for fresh breath, new life, new perspective. 7 is all about examining our First World Problems, our excess, our unexamined selfishness, and experimenting with how we can fast from these things in order to realign ourselves with a greater purpose.
We covered the introduction this week. I was reading, nodding, agreeing, reading…
If we are willing to offer these blind spots—indulgence, extravagance, greed, excess—to Jesus, we can believe Him for freedom on the other side. There is a bigger story to live, and God is drawing us into it.
Yes. Bigger story. Count me in.
What have you wished you could ‘just have’ lately?
I paused. I thought. I chewed my cuticle. I thought some more. What do I want? Hmmm…
Y’all. I couldn’t think of a thing. And that is not good.
I don’t want a new house. (We built the most beautiful, perfect house on the planet.) I don’t want a new car. (I just got one.) I don’t want new clothes. (I have five pairs of yoga pants. What else would I need?)
I want for nothing. And that makes me want to vomit.
Admittedly, I don’t like clutter. I don’t like stuff. So I don’t buy a lot of things that we don’t need. But if I think of something I’d like to have—books, black fuzzy boots, a chick flick DVD at Costco, a new camera—I buy it. I might run the idea past Michael, but probably not.
I used to have a long list, back in the days of cheap peanut butter and Hamburger Helper. I had a very long list. And you know what? Ten years later, everything is crossed off. Dream house? Check. Furniture? Check. Vacations? Check. Nice clothes? Check, check, check.
In the introductory chapter of The 7 Experiment, Jen Hatmaker reintroduces to us The Rich Young Ruler. He’s the guy who asked Jesus, “What good thing do I have to do to get eternal life?” Jesus gave him a checklist of commandments: Don’t kill anyone, don’t cheat on your wife, don’t steal, don’t lie, be nice to your parents, love your neighbor. (Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t throw in “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”)
Can you see the wheels turning in this guy’s head? Check, check, check. He knew he was good, but instinctively he knew it was not enough. “Anything else?”
Mark’s account tells us that Jesus “looked at him and loved him,” and then told him to sell everything and give it to the poor. The man’s face dropped, and he walked away.
Jesus paints a picture of a big, fat camel squeezing through the eye of a needle, and tells the disciples that camel has a better chance than the wealthy. The disciples were stunned. I’m pretty sure they were thinking what I am thinking.
Because they knew. They knew that they, too, were good. That they wanted to be a part of God’s kingdom. And that they, too, had wealth.
Then, oh blessed words of grace, Jesus tells them:
With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.
I want what the Rich Young Ruler wanted. I want what the disciples wanted. I want to be acceptable. I want my worship to please Him. I want my life to be used by Him. I want to be good enough.
So that’s what this experiment is about for me. Freeing myself from all The Stuff that keeps me from being and doing what He wants me to do. Freeing my mind from the clutter that entangles me, even when I don’t know I’m entangled. Opening my eyes to the blind spots of excess and greed and indulgence that prevent me from living a better story.
Our stories aren’t finished yet. We’re just getting started, and the most thrilling chapters have yet to be written.
Video downloads available at www.lifeway.com/jenhatmaker. Scroll down a bit and click on the yellow Video Downloads tab. Our group watched Session 1 (Intro) and Session 2 (Food) last night in preparation for the next two weeks. Oh, by the way, Food is the first fast. Help me, Baby Jesus.
What about you? If you’re doing The 7 Experiment with us, what part of the Introduction struck you? What scares you? What excites you about the next 16 weeks?