Home » Jesusness » The 7 Experiment: Introduction. AKA: Oh crap

The 7 Experiment: Introduction. AKA: Oh crap

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 : _____.

A. death

B. starvation

C. waterboarding

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.

Vomit.

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.

OH CRAP.

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?

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9 thoughts on “The 7 Experiment: Introduction. AKA: Oh crap

  1. I’m scared that I haven’t gotten the workbook yet. I’m scared to get the workbook. I’m not sure I’m good enough! HELP! Right now I have to finish getting ready for World Friendship Night for Girl Scouts. That’s good…right?

  2. Seven is the move from passive ignorance to intentional awareness that brings about the tension between conviction, guilt, and obedience.

    Looking forward to our family journey into intentionally listening, obeying, serving, and seeing His Kingdom advance in tangible ways together.

  3. First of all, the title made me laugh out loud.
    Second: rehashing conversation I had about 7 with a friend….
    Me: so I’m really not looking forward to this. Like I don’t want to do it.
    Friend: so why are you doing it.
    Me: just feel like I have to.
    Couldn’t explain the “have to” part, really. Not sure where that was coming from. Cause Caroline asked and so far (in like 9 years) she’s been right about what I need more than me and is one of only maybe 3 people I know who aren’t scared to speak it? Maybe. Cause the Holy Spirit has been moving mountains in me over the past year, so bring it…what’s one more challenge? Maybe. Or wait, maybe it’s cause I don’t want to cause of all of all of the things I’ll have to give up when “I already sacrifice so much.” Ugh. Yep…there it is. Straight up conviction. I gripe about how entitled all of my students and their families were, but I’m just as bad. The question asked in the book on p. 24 about why fast from my own excess….my answer was long. Just to name a few: discomfort, dis-satisfaction, and frustration for all I don’t have, when so many have so much less. Repentance for my snotty, entitlement attitude. And most of all worship. I need t clear out this clutter and make room for a God who can fill all of my needs.
    Oh, and maybe I should have put a disclaimer….sometimes I share too much 🙂

  4. 2 parts of the intro that struck me:
    1.) how easily and frequently we are deceived by our stuff & 2.) This quote by Jen Hatmaker: (p. 17) “It’s this way of life, the way Jesus did it, full of courage and risk and sacrifice and back-breaking mercy that we are asked to accept. And if He is to be believed, it is our wealth that will keep us from saying yes.”

    Scariest parts:
    I see it is far too easy to do the bare minimum (follow the rules) and still resist God–I’m concerned that I will not let God use this study to deeply and eternally change my heart and life. I want to follow Him. I want to become outrageously generous (with time, life, money, resource, I so want Him to do so, but I also know how undisciplined I am and how often I take the easy route. Oh, change me, Lord.

    Exciting parts–okay, I am not extremely excited yet…but this is the most comforting part: He LOOKS at me (in all my excess, in my blindness, in my laziness, in my undisciplined & sinful nature, in my weakness, in my pride & arrogance, in my wastefulness, etc.) and He LOVES me. Just as I am. He’s got this. He’s got me. I’m grateful.

    Deb Weaver
    thewordweaver.com

    • I’m totally with you. We talked a lot about legalism vs. heart on Thursday night. We are giving each other A LOT of grace here. I think we all have to be very intentional about asking God, “What do you want to teach me?” and looking for the lessons (which I think will reveal themselves in the ways we are struggling). It’s exciting, though, that God is pushing us through this in order to show us something new. The “new” is gonna be pretty cool, I think. 🙂

  5. I’m excited. And kind of scared. But overall, I am so looking forward to freeing myself and leaving more room for God.
    My favorite snippet: “Anywhere God’s rule has dominion, in any moment when His way is chosen over our human instinct, His kingdom breaks through.” I’m ready!
    I think the food fast will be the most difficult for me. I grew up with enough to eat, but just barely. I really, truly love my full fridge and pantry. And I’m most excited for the possessions fast. I actually told my husband a few weeks ago that I wanted a dumpster! No, I’m not a hoarder; I just have never been good at staying caught up with keeping “stuff” organized and cleaned out. Now it just feels so overwhelming.
    Praying for God to open my eyes and show me what I’ve been missing!

  6. Pingback: Oh (not so) precious is the flow… | from the corner of my couch

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