Saturday, September 21, 2013

202. (Seven Fast)

My friend Sammy and I are taking on The 7 Experiment by Jen Hatmaker.  Last week, we fasted from foods and only ate from 7 items of food.  This week, we have chosen to wear 7 articles of clothes.

Day 4: Monday

So far, this clothing fast has not really pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Other than having to do last minute laundry before I can go outside, I really have not felt that uncomfortable.  I decided to push myself a little further today, just so that I could work on my heart a little more.

Today I wore the same outfit that I did yesterday without washing it.  Okay, almost the same outfit; I wore denim shorts instead of long jeans because it was hot outside.  This isn't even that strange of a thing to do.  I barely went outside on Sunday and spent most of the day sitting and studying, so my clothes were fine.  The biggest challenge was that my church service was on Sunday and my church's Life Group was today, so I wore the same outfit in front of several of the people I saw yesterday.

Because I tend to coordinate who I see each day, it's really easy for me to think, "Okay, I'll be sure and wear my green shirt on Friday and then again on Monday because I won't see the same people on those days..." but that isn't the point of this fast at all.  I want to be less entitled and a lot more thankful of the blessings I have.  The Bible verse I'm repeating over and over this week speaks to that mindset so much.  1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."  

I have daily food.  I have plenty of clothes.  I am content.

Day 5: Tuesday

Today I wore my green Impact shirt, black cargo shorts, and Converse shoes.  It's pretty much the typical daily outfit for me.  I knew this clothing fast would not be nearly as difficult as the food one, but the extent of how easy it has been is actually a little surprising.  I was even questioning myself a little bit today, wondering if the lack of femininity in the way I dress is a bad thing.

I was reading Jen Hatmaker's 7 book, not just the Bible study workbook, and I stumbled across this fantastic quote.  Jen went to speak at a conference while she was undergoing this fast, so she was concerned that she would be under-dressed in her jeans and t-shirt.  However, she was delighted to find that most of the women at the conference were also dressed casually.  Jen Hatmaker said in response to this, "There is something noble about an assembly of believers in simple clothes, where the lobby isn't filled with people saying, 'You look pretty' to one another.  Maybe looking pretty isn't the catalyst for the Spirit's movement.  Perhaps an obsessive occupation with dresses and hair and shoes detracts us from the point of the gathering: a fixation on Jesus.  When the jars of clay remember they are jars of clay, the treasure within gets all the glory, which is somehow more fitting."  Just what I needed to hear today.

Sammy and I met and caught up on our Bible study.  We usually meet on Fridays, but due to schoolwork, we had to boost it to Tuesday this week.  Sammy is like me and usually wears tanktops, t-shirts, and shorts.  She's chosen for her seven items: two shirts, two pairs of shorts/capris, a nice outfit for something she had to do for school, and shoes.

It's been cool to see how all sorts of people are responding to The 7 Experiment.  Several others have joined since we began and have shared with me their experiences and heart changes over the last two weeks.  The perspectives of my friends and family have touched my heart.  I love seeing how God has moved in these areas.

I received a necklace and bracelet in the mail from my friends in Kenya today.  I have to admit: I broke my no accessories rule to try them on.  They are beautiful.  I have such sweet friends.  

Day 6: Wednesday

I'm going to quote a little more of chapter 2 of 7 by Jen Hatmaker.  It has really left me stunned and thinking about a lot of things because it relates to me so much.  "On any given day I wear jeans and a t-shirt.  My style is utterly unsophisticated; I look like a college girl who rolled out of bed five minutes before class - but who has prematurely aged.  Anyhow, I'm a simple or possibly lazy dresser who doesn't spend much time thinking about my wardrobe.  Clothes are just not a huge deal to me.  So, why clothes then?  Why reduce radically in a neutral category I say I don't care about?  Because although that sounds true in my head, my closet tells me a different story.  ...Our closets represent an expenditure, of, well, a lot of money.  ...I counted, and I have 327 items from which to choose.  You read that right.  No other category even comes close to this one in quantity.  ...If I spent $20 on each item, that's $6,540 spent on just my clothes in about the last five years."

Wow.  Right?

I can certainly relate to that passage of her book.  While I am a very simple dresser, I have an extravagant wardrobe of t-shirts, shorts, and jeans.  Inspired, I went to my closet and counted all of the clothes inside.  I didn't count all of the old sweats and t-shirts I use as pajamas.  The only clothes I counted were the clothes hanging in my closet, the shorts folded in the bottom drawer of my cabinet, and shoes.  That's it.  And my results were: 202.

If I spent an average of $10 on each item, I've got $2,020 worth of clothes in my closet.

For someone who doesn't care much about clothes, I sure have an over-abundance of them.  It's embarrassing.  It's indulgent.  It's excess.  Wearing only 7 this week will be good for me, probably better than I even realize.

I could not be more eager for the "possessions" week of this fast.  I plan to reduce the number of clothes in my closet by a lot.

I'm so much more blessed than I realize.

Day 7: Thursday

Part of me feels refreshed after this fast.  What a nice feeling it is to be able to not stress about clothes!  I no longer feel self-conscious wearing the same thing.  I wore my jeans and white Gap t-shirt again today, for the third time this week.  I saw one of my friends today; he's seen me every single time I've worn this shirt!  And I could care less.

At the beginning of this week, I felt compelled to offer excuses.  Paranoid that people were wondering at my repetitive wardrobe choices, I'd say, "I'm doing this experiment called 7.  I'm fasting from excess and pursuing simplicity in my life.  Just for a week.  Etc, etc."  No more.  Why was I ever embarrassed?  I'm blessed to have three shirts in a week.  In seven short days, I've shed much of my hesitation about wearing the same clothes over and over again.  It's no big deal, y'all.

I'll give a final quote for the week from Jen Hatmaker.  "In my self-important mind, everyone would notice my repetitions and whisper about my wardrobe.  People would obsess about my attire.  You know what I discovered?  Others aren't thinking about me nearly as much as I thought they were.  Blending seamlessly into my environment, I brought up 'my clothing situation' 100 percent more often than it was observed by anyone."

On the other hand, I'm a little excited to have a bit more variety in clothes again.  I don't need nearly as much as I have and I'm ready to give much of it away, but I am happy to start wearing some other colors and put my beloved James Avery Africa necklace back on.

This has been a good week.  God is faithful.

What have you learned from the Lord this week?  

Three years ago: Cops and Robbers and A Little OCD

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