Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Lord Provides (Seven Fast)

My friend Sammy and I are currently participating in The 7 Experiment Bible study by Jen Hatmaker.  The first week, we only ate from seven foods.  The second week, we wore only seven articles of clothing.  For the third week, we are giving away possessions.

Day 4: Monday

Today I gave away a few more articles of clothing, but I mostly searched my bedroom for other possessions and decided to give up things like books (ouch), sunglasses, a hat, and longboard wheels.

The hardest part of the week is beginning.  It is becoming daily more difficult to sit down and judge which of my belongings are needless excess.  I want to approach each day with the mindset of embracing selflessness instead of only giving away random junk that clutters my bedroom.  I am ready for the Lord to carve out places in my life so that they can be filled completely with Him.

Yesterday I taped a sign to my living room wall that reminded my roommates or any visitors to my house to leave possessions to be given away to the needy.  Much to my delight, when I woke up this morning, there was a box and two grocery bags full of stuff sitting next to my hamper!  Each week, it's been a joy to watch the Lord change hearts and transform perspectives. 

Day 5: Tuesday

Giving up belongings aches in a completely refreshing and beneficial way.  When chains are broken, freedom rains down upon my day in joy and refreshment.

I dove into my shoe bucket today.  As much as I don't care about style and clothing, I do love my comfy shoes and I have my heart set on my favorite brands, like TOMS and Converse and Chacos.  Today I gave away some pairs of shoes that I like but don't need (and I don't need the fifteen or so pairs that I own), as well as some jeans.  Who needs seven pairs of jeans?  Not this girl.

Farewell, dress that I like but don't wear very often.  Farewell, t-shirt and sweatpants.  Farewell, pillow.  Farewell, farewell, farewell.  I tell myself I'll miss you now, but we all know I won't really.  In six months, I'll forget completely what all I gave away because I have been living with an over-abundance of possessions. 

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a man described as a 'rich fool': “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”  Examining my own lifestyle, I pray that Jesus wouldn't call me a rich fool, but I do have an abundance of possessions.  Keeping this in mind, I am working hard to be on my guard against all kinds of greed in my life, whether it's through reluctance to give away a pair of shoes I like to someone whose shoes are falling apart, or through trusting in the abundance of my possessions over the security and sufficiency of the Lord's work in my life.

I know I've said this several times, but this is test week and it has been extremely stressful for me.  I was studying with Sammy and a couple of other friends tonight at Denny's, and at one point, I said, "Sammy, have you learned anything from the Lord this week about our fast?"  I asked this not because I didn't think she had (of course God is teaching her marvelous things!), but because I was feeling frustrated with my own singular focus on studying and was ready to hear some revelation about this fast.

Sammy explained that so many things she has kept in her bedroom she doesn't truly need, but she likes to think she does.  She keeps them just in case she'll need them later.  This week, she is learning about how the Lord desires to be the One to provide for our needs, and when we store up riches for ourselves, we are putting trust in our own provision over God's!  Good wisdom.  I can relate and it was just what I needed to hear today. 

Day 6: Wednesday

God is sufficient.  God is sufficient.  This is what I mumbled to myself as I rummaged through my bookshelves (my library is the pride of my house), through my closet another time, and through the few drawers I have in my room.  My bedroom is now free of some movies, books, and jewelry.  I gave away some extra pillow cases.  At first, I wondered if this was cheating because the pillow cases don't hold much emotional value for me, but I am sure there are people in this town who could use the pillow cases that I keep sitting aimlessly on my closet shelf.  So in the hamper they go.

I started out the night studying and feeling overwhelmed, and the night ended up with a several-hour conversation solely about God's glory and heaven.  It was so sweet, so needed, and so worth the time taken away from my textbooks.  In the early morning hours, when I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about how delighted I felt after that long conversation with two of my dearest friends about our Father, and it hit me: we were fulfilling our purpose.

We were created to glorify God and when we praise Him, we overflow with joy because we're doing exactly what we were made to do!  When I am focused singularly on schoolwork and social media and my belongings and my clothes, I am giving my worship to things and not to God.  And He is so marvelous and powerful.  He is worthy of every ounce of praise in my heart and more. 

God is good!

Day 7: Thursday

If you know me well in the "real world" outside of blogging, you know how much I love my TOMS.  They are some of my absolute favorite shoes.  Well, a pair of my TOMS went into the giveaway hamper today, as well as one of my two pairs of running shoes.  And a few other things.  God is sufficient.  Why do I need so much stuff anyways?

Today's giveaway took longer than the others did.  It also involved a hesitant Emily removing and replacing the same last few items in my hamper, over and over again.  "No, I'll keep this, just in case.  No, I don't need it; I'll give it away.  No, I'll keep it.  No, no, no, the point of this week is sacrifice."  But now that my choices are made, I'm feeling confident and overjoyed by the way the Lord is changing my selfish heart.

I don't need these things.  I have an over-abundance of material possessions and blessings.  I am glad for the opportunity to place idols in my life aside and turn instead to the Lord as the Provider of all of my needs.   

Looking at the wall that holds all of the bags and boxes of things that my roommates and I have chosen to give away makes me smile... and smile some more.  I can't wait to head out to give these possessions away with Sammy tomorrow.  God is moving in our town.  He is moving in our hearts.  And He loves greatly.

One year ago: Daddy
Two years ago: The Sanctuary
Three years ago: Bornali Deka

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