Two months going through the Bible study 7 by Jen Hatmaker will change you. You will love it. But you will be different at the end. After intentionally reducing several categories in my life, I know more about how my choices affect my family, the earth, and the poor. And most importantly, that God cares about these things. The challenges I faced while fasting from caffeine were insignificant compared to the real challenges faced by countless people who face hunger on a daily basis. 16,000 children DIE of hunger every day. I’ve never known hunger like that.
I don’t need to buy more clothes, in fact I loved wearing only 7 clothing items for one week. My lifestyle doesn’t require dressy things, so why do I hang on to old clothes I wore for work when someone else could use those now? I’ve donated about 50% of my wardrobe. I didn’t wear it anyway, someone else might as well get some use out of it.
If I plant a garden, I can provide fresh, organic vegetables for my family and probably have enough to donate to food pantries – not to mention the money I’ll save by not buying produce at the store. I can redirect that money to buy healthier food like organic grass fed beef and organic blueberries. I’m also wondering if I can turn the second floor of the shed into a chicken coop… It’s like a pet and a project and food!
What’s the point? God cares and so should I. He created my body, it is a temple for His Holy Spirit, so I should treat it well with healthy food. Likewise, I should care about others – what they are eating, and wearing, and how they’re living and how I can help them. Can I make a difference in the world, just me? Maybe. But that’s not why I would change. I know the right things to do and I want to do them. I want to honor God with my time and money and life. I want to love others the way Jesus did.
So I’ve spent less time scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, and more time on adoption websites. Did you know that Christians outnumber orphans 7 to 1? If we took God’s command seriously to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27), then there wouldn’t be any orphans.
7 isn’t the end of a race, but just the training for what is next. What will God do with the lessons He has taught me through this study? I don’t know yet. But until something bigger pops up, I’ll garden, buy healthy food, share with the poor, read more of His word and less of facebook. I will be smarter with my consumer dollars by giving microloans through Kiva.com and shopping at places like Noonday that provide economic opportunities for vulnerable people. I will recycle more, maybe start a compost pile for my garden next year, and probably buy a rain barrel.
I hope the biggest change seen in my life is just that I live more like Jesus. That I see the poor and lonely and broken and that I help them.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8