Well, The Weavers have decided to take a challenge this Lenten season. For further info look here: http://dlmayfield.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/the-great-lent-experiment-or-our-own-mutiny-against-excess/
The first week challenged us to go to the store ONCE, not to buy ANYTHING after that. No coffee (for me that would be tea), no little extras, just to live on what is in the house. So here’s how we did.
Overall, we did it! Let me explain. For a family of 5 it is hard not to swing buy the store to pick up that random item, or to get more bread when we run out. We rarely go out to eat, maybe once a month if that. However I am notorious for forgetting an ingredient for a meal and stopping in at the store for that one item and walking out with a bag of other stuff’. This past week, we ate what we had. To be honest I didn’t do a great job of planning ahead. I sort of ran to the store last Tues night before the challenge and sort of put meals together in my head as I walked the aisles.
Full dis closer : * We cheated one day. Greg and I got a mid day date (Body Works at the OMSI… my nerd heart felt so loved!!). After we went to OMSI Greg and I went to a food truck (in Portland these are some of the best places to eat!) and got Thai food to go. We spent $10 for the both of us.
Here is what I learned:
I am LAZY and like convenience. I went to make a Chicken Curry one night and realized I didn’t have a bell pepper and ran out of couscous. Normally I would just hop in the van and go get what I needed (along with whatever else my brain decided it WANTED). But I did the crazy, the unthinkable… I went without! Now, I am being a little dramatic, but truthfully, I was surprised that I actually had to be intentional about getting creative. We went with out the bell pepper and I added Bulgar to the recipe to make up for the couscous. And it tasted just fine! There was a night where we did need to eat beans and rice, and guess what? The family survived! By the way, cilantro is my FAVORITE herb and makes almost anything taste fantastic. Also, we had a small group potluck on Sunday night (something I had NOT planned for). I took a meal that I had made the night before and revamped it a bit. It was humbling. I have this thing in my head that you don’t do that when you provide a meal for others. That you make something from scratch, new. It was humbling to bring it and in an unspoken way say this is the best my family can provide tonight… people do this all over the world and here I was so prideful and didn’t want to do it! Wow, I can be a prideful, lazy, arrogant person!
Even though this was suppose to be a one week challenge with food, I have taken it on for the rest of lent. I will go to the store once a week, and we will eat what we have.
Okay Week two: Possessions:
In this week we will focus on both clothing and possessions. Focusing on reducing our clothes allows us to free from the tyranny of fashion and trying to impress people. Focusing on reducing our possessions will allow us to de-clutter our lives and highlight what we truly need to live in the kingdom of God. Set aside extra time in this week to go through your house and be prepared to get rid of a lot! As we reduce our possessions we should also look to a future where re-using, recycling, and doing without becomes our new normal. Stuff will never make us happy.
Since this is not only about living a more simple life but also doing with less so that others can have more, our small group would like to do a community garage sale at the end of Lent with all the proceeds going directly to an organization that helps those in need (more to come on the organization at a later time). If garage sales aren’t your thing or don’t live near me, feel free to donate to a women’s shelter or a local clothing closet or better yet–give it to people you know that are in need.
Sort through your clothes (and your families clothes) and reduce by ⅓-½. There is no need to hoard when so many people in America are struggling to clothe their families.
Make a commitment to not buy new clothes for the week (or, for the rest of Lent).
Note: If you do choose to purchase clothes between now and Lent, consider shopping at thrift stores.
Do not buy any new possessions this week.
Commit to weed through your possessions. Tackle different areas on different days. If at all possible, save items for a garage sale. Areas to target include:
Pray for the church to become less materialistic, and pray for Christ’s rule and reign in our hearts. Pray for our gospel to become bigger than success, and pray that we would get to know our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
* Dis closer: Greg and I started this actually this past Friday.
Please let me know what God is revealing in your hearts this season and how are you making more room in your lives for the Holy Spirit to cultivate a prepared heart for the Lord???